George & The Christmas Star

Editors' review

August 24, 2016

Download George & The Christmas Star

Named for George F. Beattie, a long time SBVC math and astronomy professor, the Planetarium opened in Fall 1977. In addition to being used as a teaching facility, public shows are generally held twice a month on Friday evenings. The Planetarium also provides programs during the day for local school groups by appointment.

Planetarium Specialist Chris Clarke has been involved with the facility since early 1978 when he was a student in the program.  He became an astronomy teaching assistant in 1979. In early 1980 he began producing and presenting shows to both students and the public.

His interest in astronomy started as a young boy in Rialto. Clarke pursued that interest by earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Studio Art from the University of California, Riverside, and a star projector inside planetariumMaster’s Degree in Graphic Design from California State University, Fullerton. 

Clarke was a graphic artist at General Dynamics in Rancho Cucamonga for six years while still producing shows at SBVC. In 1992, SBVC hired him as the full-time Planetarium Production and Presentation Specialist.

“When you’re producing shows, you need that artistic ability,” said Clarke.

The 57-seat Planetarium, located next to the Greek Theatre (see map here), features a star projector which cost $100,000 in 1977, Clarke said. If it were to be replaced today, the electro-optical mechanical projector would cost approximately $400,000. 

The projector can provide views from the North Pole to the South Pole, showing all the stars that can be seen with the un-aided eye on the darkest and clearest nights.

Attendance at the shows has increased and Clarke said it is an economical outing for a family.

One of the most popular shows is “The Christmas Star,’’ which is presented three times in December.

When To Go

All shows are 7 p.m. Fridays. See Calendar of Events below.  Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and there is no late seating. The one-hour shows are presented September through May, generally twice a month. 

Calendar of Events


  Date:  September 9, 2016    
  Time: 6:30 PM - 8:30 PM    
  Date: September 23, 2016    
  Time: 6:30 PM - 8:30 PM    

Horrors of The Universe

  Date:   October 14, 2016    
  Time: 6:30 PM - 8:30 PM    
  Date: October 28, 2016    
  Time: 6:30 PM - 8:30 PM    

Star Tales

  Date:  November 18, 2016
  Time: 6:30 PM - 8:30 PM

The Christmas Star

  Date:   December 2, 2016
  Time: 6:30 PM - 8:30 PM
  Date: December 9, 2016
  Time: 6:30 PM - 8:30 PM
  Date: December 16, 2016
  Time: 6:30 PM - 8:30 PM

More Than Meets The Eye & Learn The Winter Sky

  Date:   January 6, 2017
  Time:   6:30 PM - 8:30 PM
  Date:  January 20, 2017
  Time: 6:30 PM - 8:30 PM

Meet the Moon

  Date:   February 3, 2017   
  Time: 6:30 PM - 8:30 PM

The Amateur Astronomer's Universe

  Date:   February 24, 2017
  Time:  6:30 PM - 8:30 PM 

The Little Star That Could

  Date:  March 10, 2017 
  Time:  6:30 PM - 8:30 PM 

The Dawn of Astronomy: Stonehenge and the Pyramids

  Date:   March 24, 2017
  Time:  6:30 PM - 8:30 PM 
  Date: April 7, 2017 
  Time: 6:30 PM - 8:30 PM 

Images of The Infinite: The Hubble Space Telescope

  Date:   April 21, 2017 
  Time:  6:30 PM - 8:30 PM 
  Date:  May 5, 2017 
  Time:  6:30 PM - 8:30 PM 

Tickets at the door are $3 adults, $2 students, seniors and alumni, $1 children 10 and under. Reservations are available but tickets must be picked up at the door.

The Planetarium is at 701 S. Mt. Vernon Ave., San Bernardino. Call (909) 384-8539.