Click here to see a list of show titles and descriptions.
We have shows appropriate for ages 4 and up. In 2015, we added a full-dome projection system and now offer new shows in full-dome format. The fill-dome shows are indicated by the designation "FD" in their titles. The traditional shows are indicated the the designation "TS" in their titles. All of our programs last approximately 1 hour, and include a tour of the current night sky.
Show Titles and Descriptions:
"One World, One Sky" FD - Pre-school and 1st Grade. Join Big Bird and Elmo as they explore the night sky with Hu Hu Zhu, a Muppet from "Zhima Jie," the Chinese co-production of Sesame Street. Together they take an imaginary trip from Sesame Street to the moon, where they discover how different it is from Earth. They also journey to Zhima Jie to learn about the similarities in our view of the sky. Learn some basic constellations and see that the night sky belongs to everyone.
- Our Place in Space TS" - late 1st grade and throughout 2nd grade. Take a tour of the solar system, then travel into space beyond, learning about space while completing a crossword puzzle. Concepts taught include day and night, the Sun as a star, the planets, and the Milky Way. Electronic versions of the crossword puzzle are available as a pre- or post-field trip activity.
- "Rusty Rocket's Last Blast" FD - Grades 2 through 4. All rocket rookies report to class! Lift off with Rusty Rocket and learn rocket basics, relive great moments in space exploration, and discover how far it really is to the moon and planets. After decades of teaching rocket rookies the basics of rocket physics, Rusty Rocket has announced that this will be his last blast, and he already has plans for how he will spend his free time. Meanwhile, Rusty has one final mission to command: an introductory tour of the solar system for a class of rocket rookies that focuses on the wide variety of planetary environments. Rusty really emphasizes the immense distances between the planets.
- "SkyTellers TS" - 2nd through 5th grade, depending somewhat on the topic. Choose two or three topics from the list below, and listen to a Native American story about the topic, followed by a scientific explanation of the same topic. Astronomical topics include: Day and Night, The Seasons, Moon Phases, Meteors, The Sun, Stars, Galaxies (Milky Way), Constellations, Polaris the North Star, and the Solar System. Suitable for audiences of all ages.**NOTE - when filling out the electronic reservation form, include the requested topics in the notes section of the form.
"Did an Asteroid REALLY Kill the Dinosaurs?" - Grades 3 - Adult. Did a space rock six miles wide slam into the Earth 66 million years ago and wipe out 75 percent of all living species at that time, including the dinosaurs? Cosmic collisions are abundant in our solar system. See the numerous craters on worlds like the moon, Mars, distant Pluto, and of course some on Earth, even including one in Wisconsin! Explore the dinosaur disaster up close, including the evidence that has led to our current scientific consensus as to what killed the dinosaurs.
"Back to the Moon for Good" FD - Grades 5 through Adult. This show summarizes the historical missions to the Moon during the 1960s and early 1970s, and what they taught us about the Moon's origin, composition, structure, and the potential raw materials on its surface. It then chronicles teams from around the world, their innovation and engineering as they compete to win the Google Lunar XPrize. The program closes with a glimpse of a plausible scenario for humankind's future on the Moon. Available in English, Spanish, French, and German for your advanced World Languages students. Please indicate which international version you would like in the comments section of the reservation request page.
- "Journey to the Center of the Milky Way" FD - Grades 5 through Adult. The short, 6-minute program takes you on a tour from our solar system to the center of the Milky Way. Learn about the black hole lurking there, and watch the objects orbiting under its powerful gravitational influence. This can be added on to any feature program, just request it in the comments section of the reservation request form.
- "Eight Planets and Counting" FD - Grades 4 through Adult. Take a tour through the solar system, learning about the terrestrial planets, the Jovian planets, and then to the outer reaches of the solar system to learn about Pluto and other dwarf planets. See how the number of planets in the solar system has changed through time.
- "Totality" FD - grades 4 through adult. This program is all about eclipses – from lunar to total solar. We cover how they occur and what happens when they do. We look back to the proof of general relativity and look forward to upcoming eclipses and where to witness them. A very special part of the show relates, in a very human way, what happens when you are caught in the shadow of the Moon and the Sun is plunged into a total solar eclipse.
- "Sunstruck" FD - Grades 5 through Adult. Travel back to the beginning of time and experience the birth of the sun. Discover how it came to support life, how it threatens life as we know it, and how its energy will one day fade away. It includes information on the sun, parts/layers, space weather and its impact on Earth. Several NASA heliophysics missions are featured to provide an enhanced understanding of the Sun and how it impacts our world.
- "Space Aliens" FD - Grades 7 through Adult. Join our alien “experts”–Hopeful and Skeptical–as they try to convince each other whether or not life exists beyond the Earth. Follow their astrobiology arguments from the ocean floor to a journey across the galaxy! Learn about exoplanets, the evolution of life on Earth, follow a cosmic calendar of the history of the universe.
- "Two Small Pieces of Glass" FD - Grades 3 - Adult. Follow two students as they interact with a female astronomer at a local star party. Along the way, the students learn the history of the telescope from Galileo’s modifications to a child’s spyglass — using two small pieces of glass — to the launch of the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope and the future of astronomy. Aiming to engage and appeal to audiences of all ages, the show explores the wonder and discovery made by astronomers throughout the last 400 years
- "Galileo - the Power of the Telescope" FD - Grades 5 through Adult. Two eyes and two pieces of glass revolutionized human understanding 400 years ago. The eyes belonged to Galileo Galilei, and the curved pieces of glass were the lenses of his telescope. Experience Galileo’s personal and powerful story, and explores how his discoveries displaced long-held views about the universe. Travel back in time to Pisa, Italy, to experience Galileo’s early experiments with gravity and the laws of motion, his advocacy of the idea that the Earth revolves around the sun, and his work with early telescopes. You see how his keen observations culminated in The Starry Messenger, an early masterpiece in which Galileo described all his dazzling discoveries in a straightforward, easy to understand way.
- "Bad Astronomy" TS - grades 6 through adult. Join Phil Plait as he takes a humorous look at the "bad" astronomy in popular culture. UFOs, the Moon Landing Hoax, bad astronomy in movies, and astrology are all examined. This program is based on the Bad Astronomy website and the book Bad Astronomy.
- "Exoplanets" FD - Grades 6 through Adult. How were exoplanets first discovered? What methods are used to discover exoplanets today? What are the characteristics of exoplanets discovered so far? What is a hot-Jupiter, a super-Earth? Recently discovered exoplanets are compared and contrasted with our solar system. Could any of them support life, and if so, what might that life be like?
- "First and Farthest" FD - Grades 6 through Adult. From the first rockets, to the first man on the moon, First and Farthest celebrates humanity's great accomplishments in the Space Race. STEM topics include solid and liquid-fueled rocket propulsion, parabolic flight, orbital flight and the history of space exploration. This show will bring back memories for those who experienced the Space Race and inspire new generations to keep exploring our universe.
- "The First Stargazers" FD - Grades 6 through Adult. Journey back in time to explore how the first stargazers experienced the sky above. Your guide is Nashira, a friendly time traveler who has visited Earth many times before. Witness the very first stargazer making a Moon calendar out of animal bone 30,000 years ago. Discover the ancient pyramids of Giza and their alignment to the skies. See stunning digital re-creations of the Parthenon, Alexandria Library, Stonehenge and Abu Simbel Temple and be inspired by the first stargazers who laid down the foundations of modern-day astronomy.
- "From the Earth to the Universe" FD - Grades 6 through Adult. The night sky, both beautiful and mysterious, has been the subject of campfire stories, ancient myths and awe for as long as there have been people. A desire to comprehend the Universe may well be humanity’s oldest shared intellectual experience. Yet only recently have we truly begun to grasp our place in the vast cosmos. To learn about this journey of celestial discovery, from the theories of the ancient Greek astronomers to today’s grandest telescopes, we invite you to experience From Earth to the Universe.
- "Hubble Vision II" TS– grades 7 through adult. View spectacular images taken by the Hubble Space Telescope and learn the astronomy behind the images.
"Cosmic Castaways" FD - Grades 7 through Adult. What holds galaxies such as the Milky Way together? Start on an imaginary planet orbiting a star that is alone in space, not part of any galaxy, where there are no other stars, no constellations. How do stars end up alone in the space between galaxies? See galaxies as you have never seen them before, and discover how some stars become cosmic castaways.
"Dark Matter" FD - Grades 7 through Adult. How do astronomers know that dark matter exists? What is the structure of the Milky Way? What tools do astronomers use to detect dark matter? Look at how radio telescopes are used to probe areas of the Milky Way and universe that would otherwise be invisible. Computer models are used to demonstrate the evolution of the large-scale structure of the universe, and to reveal the location of dark matter.
- "Dark Matter Mystery" FD - Grades 5 through Adult. What keeps Galaxies together? What are the building blocks of the Universe? What makes the Universe look the way it looks today? Researchers all around the world try to answer these questions. We know today that approximately a quarter of the Universe is filled with a mysterious glue: Dark Matter. We know that it is out there. But we have no idea what it is made out of. This planetarium show takes you on the biggest quest of contemporary astrophysics. You will see why we know that Dark Matter exists, and how this search is one of the most challenging and exciting searches science has to offer. Join the scientists on their hunt for Dark Matter with experiments in space and deep underground. Will they be able to solve the Dark Matter Mystery?
- "Phantom of the Universe" FD - Grades 7 through Adult. From the journey of protons racing through the world’s largest particle collider in Europe to up-close views of the Big Bang and emergent universe, and the nearly mile-deep descent to an underground experiment in South Dakota, this show is designed to immerse audiences in the search for dark matter.
- "The Stargazer" FD – grades 7 through adult. Join noted star expert, Dr. James Kaler, as he guides us through the life cycles of stars. Learn the history of how astronomers have come to know so much about objects so far away.
"Cosmic Origins Spectrograph" FD - Grades 9 through Adult. This show presents the basics of spectroscopy at a pretty high level. Other topics include the use of quasars as light sources, the evolution of the universe, and the development of the large-scale structure of the universe.
- "The Cowboy Astronomer" FD - Grades 4 - Adult. Join us in the Western outdoors, listening to star legends and cowboy tales around the campfire. Our cowboy astronomer gives us his perspective of the night sky, and the things he's found out over a lifetime of stargazing. Learn about star colors and temperatures, find the Andromeda Galaxy, young stars and supernovae, and what various cultures called the Pleiades. Hear two Native American star tales: the Fisher story of the cruel chieftain holding the birds of summer captive, and the Devil's Tower tale of the Seven Indian Maidens and the Bear. We see the Anasazi pictographs of the 1054 supernova, and Sirius rising over Wyoming's Medicine Wheel. We end on a thoughtful, philosophical manner, as our cowboy muses about the constellation where he wants to head when he departs this Earth.
"Seeing" FD - Grades 7 - Adult. Follow a photon’s creation and journey across the galaxy to a young stargazer’s eye. The viewer follows the photon into the girl’s eye, and along the way is provided with a detailed explanation of the the structures of the eye and their functions, prior to taking a ride on the optic nerve. This program is particularly appropriate for classes that wish to study the anatomy and physiology of the human eye.
" 'Tis the Season" FD - grades 5 through adult. This show recounts the historical religious and cultural rituals practiced during the time of winter solstice - from Christian, Jewish, Celtic, Nordic, Roman, Irish, and Mexican cultures. It also takes a look at some of our more light-hearted seasonal traditions: from gift-giving to songs about lords a-leaping and ladies dancing, the custom of decking the halls with greenery and candles to Santa Claus. The show also considers possible astronomical explanations for the star of Bethlehem.
Special shows can be arranged to meet the specific needs of your class or group. Call 773-3183 and leave a message and the planetarium director will get back to you to discuss your special show request.
Proud to show programming provided by the British Fulldome Institute.