New Planetarium Coming to Jackson, Wyoming

Construction for the $5 million project is underway at Snow King Mountain and predicted to open to the public very soon. Samuel Singer is the Executive Director of the educational nonprofit Wyoming Stargazing and helped design the observatory along with Farmer Payne Architects and Jakub Galczynski. He said the summit-top development is one of a kind due to its location.

The telescope will be one of the largest state-of-the-art telescopes in the world dedicated primarily to public outreach. The facility will also include an 8-meter digital planetarium with a 30-seat capacity, a classroom and theater space, galleries with interactive exhibits, and event space. The facility will be an iconic science learning center in the Rocky Mountain West.

2016 through 2019 were all about working towards approval from the Town of Jackson for the Snow King Phase II Development Plan and the Forest Service for construction on the summit. The Town of Jackson approved the Snow King Phase II Development Plan in 2020 and construction began in June of 2022.

The 4,400 square foot structure will house a Plane Wave telescope and its 24-foot dome, a 35 seat planetarium space theater, a 65 seat auditorium and a small gift shop. Additionally, there will be a glass enclosed office, designed to invite the public into all aspects of the observatory. The telescope rests on a 20-foot concrete pier anchored in the earth and is isolated from the greater structure to prevent vibrations from disrupting its position. All exterior lighting is “dark-sky compliant” with lights aimed at the ground to mitigate light pollution.

The new attraction is geared towards educational outreach and will appeal to both the star-curious general public and scientists alike.

The Legendary Snow King Ski Area & Mountain Resort, home of the observatory, was founded in 1939. As Wyoming’s first ski area, Snow King Ski Area & Mountain Resort offers you a complete mountain experience in one in-town location, featuring alpine and telemark skiing, snowboarding, ski school and King Tubes, a snow tubing park.

Located in northwest Wyoming near Grand Teton National Park, Jackson Hole is a 400-square-mile valley surrounded by the Gros Ventre and Teton mountain ranges. Several towns are nestled within this valley, including Jackson, which boasts incredible dining, shopping and lodging options for those seeking a fun and relaxing escape to the mountains. Choose from a number of guided activities, such as horseback riding at the A-OK Corral, whitewater rafting along the Snake River or going on a scenic wildlife tour. Or create your own adventure by hiking, mountain biking, rock climbing, fishing and more in the surrounding mountains and Bridger-Teton National Forest.

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