The Herrett Center for Arts & Science

School Programs

Bring your students to the Faulkner Planetarium for an unforgettable educational experience.  All shows include a question and answer session with a planetarium staff member.  School programs are presented Tuesdays through Fridays, September through May.  You can check program availability online, then contact our Events Coordinator Cari Eskridge at (208) 732-6657 or (208) 736-3059 to make reservations. Please note: Reservations are not final until you receive written confirmation.

School Program Admission Price per person* Minimum charge†
Planetarium show $3.00 $75.00
Planetarium double feature (any two planetarium programs) $5.00 $125.00
Museum or observatory educational program $2.00 $20.00
Observatory nighttime program (after regular museum hours) $3.00 $75.00
Explore Herrett package (Three programs of your choice, one planetarium show maximum.  Excludes after-hours observatory programs.) $6.00 $150.00
Museum galleries scavenger hunt $1.00 N/A
*Please note: All chaperones and teachers are charged for program.
†Based on 25 attendees for planetarium and after-hours observatory programs; 10 attendees for museum, reptile, and daytime observatory programs.  If you have fewer than the minimum number in your group, we will attempt to pair you with other groups to meet the minimum number.  Otherwise, you are responsible for the minimum charge.

Programs Available for the 2017-18 School Year:

Suggested Grade Level
Program Title Pre-K K 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th 11th 12th 12+
One World, One Sky: Big Bird's Adventure Check Check Check
The Little Star That Could Check Check Check
Legends of the Night Sky: Perseus and Andromeda (with a live sky tour*) Check Check Check Check Check
Legends of the Night Sky: Orion (with a live sky tour*) Check Check Check Check Check
The Accidental Astronauts: An Earth Sun Moon Adventure Check Check
Perfect Little Planet Check Check Check
Dinosaurs at Dusk Check Check Check Check Check Check Check Check Check Check Check Check
Titans of the Ice Age Check Check Check Check Check Check Check Check Check Check Check Check
Earth, Moon & Sun
(with a live sky tour*)
Check Check Check Check
Secret Lives of Stars Check Check Check Check Check Check Check Check Check Check Check
Moons: Worlds of Mystery
(with a live sky tour*)
Check Check Check Check Check Check Check Check Check Check Check
Solar System Odyssey Check Check Check
We Are Stars (with a live sky tour*) Check Check Check Check Check Check Check Check Check Check
Phantom of the Universe: The Hunt for Dark Matter (with a live sky tour*) Check Check Check Check Check Check Check Check Check Check
Asteroid: Mission Extreme
(with a live sky tour*)
Check Check Check Check Check Check Check Check Check Check
Program Title Pre-K K 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th 11th 12th 12+
Dream to Fly Check Check Check Check Check Check Check Check Check Check
Astronaut
(with a live sky tour*)
Check Check Check Check Check Check Check Check Check Check
Violent Universe: Catastrophes of the Cosmos
(with a live sky tour*)
Check Check Check Check Check Check Check Check Check Check
Cell! Cell! Cell! The Ex-CELL-ent Adventures of Raj and Sooki Check Check Check Check
Edge of Darkness (with a live Pluto update) (not available after Dec. 31st) Check Check Check Check Check Check Check Check Check
Cosmic Colors: An Adventure Along the Spectrum
(with a live sky tour* or Solar Quest)
Check Check Check Check Check Check Check Check Check
Two Small Pieces of Glass: The Amazing Telescope
(with a live sky tour* or Solar Quest)
Check Check Check Check Check Check Check Check Check
Planet Nine (with a live sky tour*) Check Check Check Check Check Check Check Check
Dynamic Earth: Exploring Earth's Climate Engine
(with a live sky tour* or Solar Quest)
Check Check Check Check Check Check Check Check
Black Holes: The Other Side of Infinity
(with a live sky tour*)
Check Check Check Check Check Check Check Check
Pre-K K 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th 11th 12th 12+
(*A live presentation of the constellations, planets, moon and other items of interest currently visible in the sky, with tips for finding your way around in the heavens on the next clear night, and stories about the stars.)

Seasonal Programs:

Suggested Grade Level
Program Title Pre-K K 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th 11th 12th 12+
Let It Snow (available 12/1 - 12/18 only) Check Check Check Check Check Check Check Check Check Check Check Check Check Check Check
The Longest Night: A Winter's Tale (available 11/3 - 2/26 only) (with a live sky tour*) Check Check Check Check Check Check Check Check Check Check Check Check Check Check
The Star of Bethlehem (available 12/1 - 12/18 only) (with a live sky tour*) Check Check Check Check Check Check Check Check Check Check Check
Programs run from 45 to 60 minutes including seating, introduction, question and answer, and live sky show segment (where indicated).


"One World, One Sky: Big Bird's Adventure"

Join Sesame Street’s Big Bird, Elmo, and Elmo’s friend from faraway China, Hu Hu Zhu, as they learn about the sky in this fun adventure, best suited for children ages 4-6. The three friends learn about sunsets and finding starry patterns like the Big Dipper in the night sky.

Using their imaginations, Elmo and Hu Hu Zhu even travel to the moon, where they discover they can jump higher and kick a soccer ball farther, but can't fly a kite, and must wear space helmets to breathe.  Returning to Earth, they realize they can see the same stars from their homes in the United States and China.

Students are encouraged to use their imaginations and actively participate in this program.

Recommended Grades

  • Pre-K through 1st (ages 4-6)

Concepts

  • The sun is a star
  • Day and night
  • Star patterns like the Big Dipper
  • The moon
  • Physical characteristics of the moon
  • Faraway places
  • Using one's imagination

"The Accidental Astronauts: An Earth Sun Moon Adventure"

Follow the adventures of Cy, Annie and Armstrong (Cy’s dog), as they embark upon an unexpected journey into space!  Armstrong gets the kids into a little trouble with his antics on a field trip to the science center.  From there the adventure only grows as the three are whisked into space by a wise-cracking spaceship named Halley.  It's off to the moon for a little exploring, followed by a visit to the sun.  What wonders will they discover?  Will they make it back to Earth?  This wonderful adventure show is based on a story by award-winning children's author Kristyn Crow.

Recommended Grades

  • 1st through 2nd

Concepts

  • Day and night
  • Earth rotates
  • The sun is a star
  • The earth orbits the sun
  • The moon orbits the earth
  • Moon phases
  • Physical nature of the moon (maria, mountains, hills, valleys, craters)
  • Lunar environment (heat and cold, low gravity, lack of atmosphere)
  • Size and physical nature of the sun
  • Uniqueness of Earth

"The Little Star That Could"

Poor Little Star, he is new to the universe and he just wants to see what else is out there.  He seems to be just an average star, and, judging by the reactions of the other stars he meets, he is never going to be anything special.  If only he could get himself some planets to make him special and give him a name.  On his journey of discovery, Little Star learns what makes each star special.  For some, it is their color and temperature, for others it may be their planets, and for others it is their stellar companions.  Along the way, he discovers that stars can combine to form larger groups, like star clusters and galaxies. Eventually,  Little Star finds his planets who tell them a little about themselves and give him his special name, the Sun.

Recommended Grades

  • K through 2nd

Concepts

  • Star formation
  • Star colors and temperatures
  • Multiple star systems
  • Star clusters
  • Galaxies
  • Solar systems
  • Planets, including basic information about the planets of our solar system

"Legends of the Night Sky: Perseus and Andromeda"

It is the classic Greek story of the princess and her hero come to life!  Poor Andromeda is being sacrificed to the sea monster Cetus for the sins of her mother, Cassiopeia.  Just what lead to this calamity?   Where is her father, Cepheus, in all this?  It all sounds so terrible; she needs a hero.  Never fear for Perseus is almost here!  First, Perseus must deal with the Gorgon, Medusa, and then he will deal with Andromeda’s situation.  Will the story end happily?  Join us to find out.

Recommended Grades

  • K through 5th

Concepts

  • Greek mythology
  • Constellations
  • Star gazing
  • Star hopping

"Legends of the Night Sky: Orion"

The legend of Orion, the mighty hunter, comes to life!  From his humble beginnings in the faraway land of Thrace, to his daring hunting exploits, and romances, on the islands of Chios and Crete, Orion and his faithful hunting dogs, Sirius and Procyon, move from adventure to adventure.  Eventually, having earned the scorn of Apollo, Orion battles Scorpius, the scorpion, in a fight to the death.  Discover how, upon Orion’s demise, he was placed into the heavens for all of us to see in the winter, right there with his two faithful companions.

Recommended Grades

  • K through 5th

Concepts

  • Greek mythology
  • Constellations
  • Star gazing
  • Star hopping

"Perfect Little Planet"

Discover our solar system through a new set of eyes—those of a family from another star system, seeking the perfect vacation spot.  Fly over the icy surface of dwarf planet Pluto, dive over Miranda's towering ice cliffs, sail through the rings of Saturn, brave Jupiter's raging lightning storms, and kick up some red dust on Mars.  With the best vacation spots in the solar system to choose from, where would your students visit?

Recommended Grades

  • 1st through 3rd

Concepts

  • Solar system
  • Sun
  • Planets
  • Moons
  • Asteroids
  • Comets
  • Gas giants
  • Rocky midgets
  • Icy dwarfs
  • Physical nature of sun and planets
  • Rings
  • Atmospheres
  • Life forms on Earth

"Dinosaurs at Dusk"

Take a fantasy trip back to the Mesozoic era with Lucy and her father as they search for the ancestors of modern-day birds.  Exploring the origins of flight, they navigate from continent to continent venturing through the Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous periods observing the evolution of pterosaurs.  In a race against time, they paraglide through ancient skies with Quetzalcoatlus, flee from raptors, and traverse deserts with Argentinosaurus.  As their time finally runs out, they experience firsthand the cataclysmic "final day" of the dinosaurs.  Danger lurks all around, but the creatures are fascinating and adventure awaits.

Recommended Grades

  • 2nd through 12th+

Concepts

  • Continental drift
  • Proper motion of stars
  • Asteroids and impacts
  • Mass extinctions
  • Convergent development of flight amongst species

"Titans of the Ice Age"

In the age of the Pleistocene large mammals trod the very ground where we now live.  Woolly mammoths, saber tooth tigers, dire wolves, giant sloths, and some creatures still around today, including man, made their existence in Idaho during the last ice age.  In some cases, these titans left evidence of their existence around the world for us to find in the form of their bones and even frozen carcasses.  Travel back to a time when much of the world was encased in ice and learn about the mega-fauna that ruled the land 5,000 years before the dawn of civilization.

Recommended Grades

  • 2nd through 12th+

Concepts

  • Pleistocene Epoch, 20,000 years ago
  • Climate cycles
  • Ice ages and their causes
  • Physical nature/characteristics of Earth during the last ice age
  • Mega-fauna of the last ice age: Mammoths, dire wolves, sabre-tooth cats, giant sloths

"Earth, Moon & Sun" (with a live sky tour)

Coyote has a razor-sharp wit and thinks he knows a lot about the sky, but as it turns out, he’s a little confused.  Coyote, adapted from American Indian oral tradition, gets set straight with his many misconceptions about lunar phases, eclipses and other puzzles of the sky.  What is the nature of the sun and moon?  How do their movements and interactions affect their appearance in the sky?  This is a great program to reinforce students' understanding of the sun, moon, and stars, and dispel common misconceptions in an entertaining and engaging way.

A live sky tour follows the program, featuring constellations, planets, the moon and other items of interest currently visible in the sky, with tips for finding your way around in the heavens on the next clear night, and stories about the stars.

Recommended Grades

  • 3rd through 6th

Concepts

  • Physical nature of the sun and moon
  • Rotation of earth and moon
  • Revolution of earth
  • Lunar phases
  • Lunar and solar eclipses
  • Manned exploration of the moon
  • Native American sky lore

"Secret Lives of Stars"

Name a famous star.  Go ahead, name a famous star and you’re likely to spout the likes of George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie or Taylor Swift; but can you name a real star, a star in the sky?  We clamor for news on the lives of Hollywood stars, but the real stars live their so-called lives out over millions to billions of years in anonymity.  However, these stars have stories to tell and they are not all created equal.  Some blaze bright in all of their massive glory over relatively short lives, others are tiny, almost insignificant, but outlive their massive counterparts by billions of years.  What is a star and just what determines how long a star will live, what kind of life it will live and how it will die?  Find out in this exposé that will reveal the amazing variety of stars and peer into their secret lives.

The program concludes with a live exposé of some stars visible in Idaho skies, and others only further south, using the theater's Digistar 5 technology.

Recommended Grades

  • 3rd through 12th+

Concepts

  • Nature and physical characteristics of the Sun and other stars
  • Stellar formation, masses, life cycles and spectra
  • Nebulae
  • Binary stars
  • Variable stars
  • Star clusters
  • Supernovae
  • Neutron stars
  • Nature of the Milky Way galaxy
  • The future of the Sun

"Moons: Worlds of Mystery" (with a live sky tour)

Our solar system is replete with a star and eight planets that garner most of our attention.  But many times we forget altogether about some of the more interesting worlds of our solar system, the many moons that by far outnumber the planets as they orbit around their larger celestial parents.  The moons of the solar system are as varied and diverse from one another as the planets.  Our own Moon has many stabilizing effects on our planet and without it life may possibly have never developed here.  This program explores the diversity of exotic moons found in the solar system and takes a look at these specific moons: Ganymede, Io, Europa, Mimas, Enceladus, Titan, Triton, Phobos, Deimos, Charon as well as our own Moon.

A live sky tour follows the program, featuring constellations, planets, the moon and other items of interest currently visible in the sky, with tips for finding your way around in the heavens on the next clear night, and stories about the stars.

Recommended Grades

  • 3rd through 12th+

Concepts

  • Formation of Earth’s Moon
  • Bombardment
  • Cratering
  • Maria formation
  • Tidal forces
  • Volcanism on Io
  • Oceans of Europa
  • Saturnian ring formation hypotheses
  • Hydrologic cycle on Titan
  • Gravitational capture
  • Physical characteristics/nature of major moons of the solar system

"Solar System Odyssey"

Sometime in the future…

A time has come when humans have depleted our home planet's resources.  Multi-billionaire business tycoon Warren Trout, seeking to secure new frontiers for Trout Enterprises, recruits former Space Fleet Command pilot Jack Larsen for a mission to find a suitable extraterrestrial location for human colonization.  Now Jack finds himself searching the solar system, but he isn’t alone.  It seems that Trout’s precocious daughter, Ashley, has stowed away onboard his spaceship.  Together they embark upon a wild ride through the solar system trying to answer these questions: How are the worlds of the solar system alike?  How are they different?  What features must a world possess for humans to live there?

Will Larson and Ashley find a suitable location?  Will they even survive this mission?  Find out in this action-packed adventure.

This program is followed by a live interactive exploration of what humans need to survive away from Earth.  After a review of the seven requirements for human survival, your students vote on which destinations (not visited by Jack and Ashley) to explore and assess as possible future human colony sites.

Recommended Grades

  • 4th through 6th

Concepts

  • Requirements for long-term human survival away from Earth (water, atmosphere/oxygen, food, energy/heat, gravity, pressurized environment, and radiation protection)
  • Overview of the solar system
  • Space exploration
  • Physical nature of Titan, Callisto, Europa, and Io
  • Earth as a unique habitat for life

"We Are Stars" (with a live sky tour)

The carnival, with all of its rides and attractions, has come to town and the most incredible experience is the Time Master's odyssey through space and time.  Entering the Time Master's tent leads to a whimsical overview of the history of the universe, starting with the Big Bang and ending in our present time.  Discover how various processes inevitably progressed to the point that life arose on one small planet orbiting a yellow star. The Time Master's array of mechanical devices demonstrate key scientific concepts in simple terms, making it easier for one life form, humans, to understand where they came from.  Sprinkle in a little humor along the way and this steampunk-themed show leads to the discovery that we are all made of stars.

A live sky tour follows the program, featuring constellations, planets, the moon and other items of interest currently visible in the sky, with tips for finding your way around in the heavens on the next clear night, and stories about the stars.

Recommended Grades

  • 4th through 12th+

Concepts

  • Big Bang
  • Cosmology
  • Stellar evolution
  • Formation of elements through nuclear fusion
  • Planetary formation
  • Origins of primitive life
  • Biological processes and evolution

"Phantom of the Universe: The Hunt for Dark Matter" (with a live sky tour)

Hints of its effects on the matter we can see have been around for a century, yet the true nature of dark matter continues to elude us.  Journey from mountaintop observatories to subterranean atom smashers and particle detectors with scientists hot on the trail of the invisible stuff that shapes galaxies.  Narrated by award-winning actress Tilda Swinton.

A live sky tour follows the program, featuring constellations, planets, the moon and other items of interest currently visible in the sky, with tips for finding your way around in the heavens on the next clear night, and stories about the stars.

Recommended Grades

  • 4th through 12th+

"Lewis & Clark: Great Journey West"

Meticulously researched, this National Geographic film uses actors to recreate the Corps of Discovery Expedition’s mission to open up the west soon after the Louisiana Purchase.  Watch in awe as the movie transports you back in time to observe Meriwether Lewis and William Clark leading the expedition across the west in an effort to learn more about the land, map the new territory, find an all water passage to the Pacific Ocean and establish an American presence in this territory before Britain or other European powers tried to claim it.  Special emphasis is placed upon the expedition’s interaction with native peoples they encountered along the way; including the addition of Sacagawea to the expedition.  If the study of the Lewis and Clark expedition is part of your classroom curriculum, you will not want to miss out on this movie.  It will truly bring to life the Corps of Discovery for your students.

Recommended Grades

  • 4th through 12th+

"Asteroid: Mission Extreme" (with a live sky tour)

Asteroids: Menacing threats to Earth, but also full of promise for mankind’s first steps out into our solar system to explore beyond the Moon.  An epic journey, 66 million years in the making, to discover how asteroids just might be the key to living on other worlds.  Learn what asteroids are, the threat that they can pose to the inhabitants of Earth, how we might be able to divert them from impacting our home planet, the resources that they might provide to future astronauts and how we might use them as stepping stones to other worlds.  This National Geographic fulldome film is narrated by Sigourney Weaver and puts the audience in the position of being an astronaut on a future mission to an asteroid.

A live sky tour follows the program, featuring constellations, planets, the moon and other items of interest currently visible in the sky, with tips for finding your way around in the heavens on the next clear night, and stories about the stars.

Recommended Grades

  • 4th through 12th+

Concepts

  • Nature, composition, and natural resources of asteroids
  • Asteroid belt
  • Asteroid impact threat monitoring and prevention
  • Robotic exploration of asteroids
  • Challenges of manned space exploration (fuel resources, life support, safety, and psychological well-being)
  • Asteroids as stepping stones to more distant destinations

"Dream to Fly"

Have you ever had a dream that you were flying?  What does it take to break the bonds of Earth and soar like a bird?  Explore humankind’s quest for flight including the ancient myths of Aladdin on his flying carpet, the vimanas—mechanical winged flying machines—of ancient Sanskrit writings, the kites of ancient China, Leonardo Da Vinci's scientific study of wings and drawings of flying machines, and the pioneers of actual flight: France’s Montgolfier brothers, England’s George Cayley, Germany’s Otto Lilienthal and the United States' Wright brothers.  Learn how history also shaped the early days of powered aviation with the advent of World Wars.  This poetic and visually stunning show takes you on a journey from the time when humans could only dream of flying to our modern day world where all one needs to fly is a ticket.  Have you ever dreamed of flying?

Recommended Grades

  • 4th through 12th+

Concepts

  • Mankind's desire for flight
  • Flight in mythology
  • Chinese use of kites
  • Da Vinci's studies of flying creatures; drawings of wings; prototype parachutes, gliders, and a helicopter
  • History of flight/aviation
  • Principles of flight (drag, lift, and propulsion)
  • Pioneers of flight and aviation: Sir George Cayley, Montgolfier Brothers, Otto Lilienthal, and the Wright Brothers
  • Impact of war on the evolution of aviation
  • Altruistic aims of aviation

"Astronaut" (with a live sky tour)

Mankind’s greatest endeavor is the exploration of space.  What does it take to become an astronaut, and participate in the incredible journey?  Your students will find out by experiencing a rocket launch from inside an astronaut's body.  Explore both inner and outer space in this exciting show.  Just what perils lurk beyond Earth's protective atmosphere and magnetic field?  Find out as test astronaut "Chad" is subjected to conditions simulating the harshest environment of all—space.  Does Chad have the right stuff?  Would you?

A live sky tour follows the program, featuring constellations, planets, the moon and other items of interest currently visible in the sky, with tips for finding your way around in the heavens on the next clear night, and stories about the stars.

Recommended Grades

  • 4th through 12th+

Concepts

  • Human biology
  • Space environment
  • Physiological effects of space environment

"Violent Universe: Catastrophes of the Cosmos" (with a live sky tour)

Few things appear more peaceful than a quiet, starry sky.  Year after year, the same stars return, apparently inhabiting a tranquil and unchanging universe.  Yet terrific, unseen forces shape the cosmos.  Galaxies collide; supernova explosions rip stars apart, blasting deadly gamma rays across space; black holes in the hearts of galaxies devour whole stars; asteroids and comets streak past, occasionally crashing into Earth and catastrophically disrupting its ecosystems.  In reality, the universe is a violent and dangerous place.  What dangers lurk out there, and how safe is our planet?

A live sky tour follows the program, featuring constellations, planets, the moon and other items of interest currently visible in the sky, with tips for finding your way around in the heavens on the next clear night, and stories about the stars.

Recommended Grades

  • 4th through 12th+

Concepts

  • Violent forces of the cosmos
  • Galactic collisions
  • Galactic dust clouds
  • Supernovae
  • Black holes
  • Meteors
  • Meteor showers and storms
  • Comet/asteroid/planetary collisions
  • Cratering
  • Gamma ray bursts
  • The Milky Way's central black hole

"Cell! Cell! Cell! The Ex-CELL-ent Adventures of Raj and Sooki"

Join Raj and Sooki’s ex-CELL-ent adventure to explore the microscopic cells we're all made of.  Students will see the wonderous human cell from within, witnessing how the various organelles and cell structures function.  Genes and genetics are explained while examining egg fertilization, revealing how we acquire the individual DNA that makes us unique.  Also detailed is the process of cell specialization to create the diverse biological systems within us, and how those systems interact to allow us to accomplish amazing feats.

This program is followed by a live, interactive exploration of the discovery of the cell, prokaryotic vs. eukaryotic cells, numbers and types of human cells, apoptosis (cell &ldquot;suicide&rdquot;), the number and role of bacteria in humans, and other incredible and amazing facts about the cells of the human body.

Recommended Grades

  • 5th through 8th (may be suitable for high school biology classes)

Concepts

  • Cell structure
  • Cell membranes
  • Organelles (lysosomes, mitochondria, nucleus)
  • DNA and genes
  • Fertilization
  • Stem cells
  • Fetal cell development
  • Interaction between cellular systems (neurological, circulatory, muscular, etc.)

"Edge of Darkness" (with a live Pluto update)

In the spaces between—and beyond—the Solar System's largest bodies (the sun and planets) lie mysterious worlds, long hidden from our sight.  Now, a new generation of robotic explorers is reaching out to Pluto, the largest asteroid Ceres, and the bizarre "rubber duck" comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko to reveal the secrets they hold to the Solar System's birth.  Hitch a ride across the interplanetary void with the Dawn, Rosetta, and New Horizons missions on their daring quest to push back the Edge of Darkness.

The presentation concludes with a live update of some of the latest images and discoveries from New Horizons' Pluto encounter.

Recommended Grades

  • 5th through 12th+

"Cosmic Colors: An Adventure Along the Spectrum" (with a live sky tour or "Solar Quest")

The universe is awash in radio waves, infrared light, visible light, ultraviolet light, microwaves, x-rays, and gamma rays, pouring forth from various celestial objects.  So, what do all of these forms of electromagnetic energy have in common, and what makes them different?  Learn about the electromagnetic spectrum and common, everyday occurrences and uses of these forms of energy in this fast-paced adventure.

Please specify "live sky tour" or "Solar Quest" (but not both) when scheduling this program.

Recommended Grades

  • 5th through 12th+

Concepts

  • Electromagnetic spectrum
  • Visible light
  • Infrared
  • Radio waves
  • Ultraviolet
  • Gamma rays
  • Wavelength and frequency
  • Color
  • Speed of light

"Two Small Pieces of Glass: The Amazing Telescope" (with a live sky tour or "Solar Quest")

Just over 400 years ago, using Dutch lens maker Hans Lippershey's invention, Galileo started a revolution.  Turning his crude "spy glass" telescope skyward, he recorded the wonders he saw and changed the world forever.  Four centuries later the telescope has evolved into modern wonders of technology like the Hubble Space Telescope.  Join two young astronomy enthusiasts and their astronomer friend as they explore the universe and learn why telescopes are such important tools of science.

Please specify "live sky tour" or "Solar Quest" (but not both) when scheduling this program.

Recommended Grades

  • 5th through 12th+

Concepts

  • Design and nature of telescopes
  • History of astronomy
  • Electromagnetic spectrum
  • Optics

"Planet Nine" (with a live sky tour)

Join Mike "Pluto Killer" Brown on the hunt for a giant, yet elusive planet lurking in the fringes of the solar system.

A live sky tour follows the program, featuring constellations, planets, the moon and other items of interest currently visible in the sky, with tips for finding your way around in the heavens on the next clear night, and stories about the stars.

Recommended Grades

  • 6th through 12th+

"Dynamic Earth: Exploring Earth's Climate Engine" (with a live sky tour or "Solar Quest")

What makes Earth so conducive to life?  What drives our planet's weather and climate engine?  What connects seemingly independent systems on Earth to create and influence the planet’s climate?  Follow the energy trail from the sun to Earth and into the interwoven systems of atmosphere, oceans, and the biosphere to discover the broader nature of global climate.  Explore the winds, oceans, and forces of nature that shape Earth, and discover what ruined our sister planet, Venus.

Please specify "live sky tour" or "Solar Quest" (but not both) when scheduling this program.

Recommended Grades

  • 6th through 12th+

Concepts

  • Global climate system
  • Interconnectivity of systems
  • Solar energy
  • Greenhouse effect and gases
  • Earth's magnetosphere
  • Wind and ocean currents
  • Weather
  • Global heat distribution
  • Carbon cycle
  • Oceanic food chain
  • Global biosphere
  • Volcanism
  • Anthropogenic global climate change

"Solar Quest"

Our star, the sun, is more than just a blindingly bright orb in the sky.  The sun’s interior and surface are maelstroms of high energy interactions of radiation, convection, and magnetic fields.  This program examines the nature of our star and its effects on our planet—which orbits within the sun’s extended atmosphere—through the phenomena we call space weather.  The Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO), is the latest NASA spacecraft to continually study the sun in efforts to better understand our star and predict harmful space weather.  Learn what it’s like to be living with a star.

This short program is only presented as an accompaniment to "Cosmic Colors: An Adventure Along the Spectrum," "Two Small Pieces of Glass: The Amazing Telescope," or "Dynamic Earth: Exploring Earth's Climate Engine. 

Concepts

  • Star formation
  • Nuclear fusion
  • Convection
  • Magnetic fields
  • Sunspots
  • Prominences
  • Coronal mass ejections
  • Aurorae
  • Remote sensing/observation

"Black Holes: The Other Side of Infinity" (with a live sky tour)

There's a place from which nothing—not even light—escapes, where time and space literally come to their end.  It's here, inside this fantastic riddle, that black holes exert their sway over the cosmos…and our imaginations.  Zip through other-worldly wormholes, experience the creation of the Milky Way Galaxy, and witness the violent death of a star and subsequent birth of a black hole.  Mathematical equations, cutting-edge science, and Einstein's theories fill in holes along the way, providing the most complete picture yet of this mysterious phenomenon.  Can you feel the pull?

A live sky tour follows the program, featuring constellations, planets, the moon and other items of interest currently visible in the sky, with tips for finding your way around in the heavens on the next clear night, and stories about the stars.

Recommended Grades

  • 6th through 12th+

Concepts

  • Formation of the universe/big bang
  • galactic formation
  • stellar birth and death
  • nuclear fusion
  • supernovae
  • galactic collisions
  • formation of stellar and galactic black holes
  • nature of gravity
  • spacetime
  • event horizons

Seasonal Programs

"Let It Snow" (available 12/1 - 12/18 only)

It’s a holiday treat for the eyes and ears, featuring festive fulldome video images choreographed to classic Christmas music.  Enjoy seasonal tunes by Frank Sinatra, Chuck Berry, Burl Ives, Brenda Lee, and more, with a finale by the Trans-Siberian Orchestra.  This family-friendly audio-visual experience is a great seasonal show to reward your students for reaching classroom performance goals, or just for a fun field trip.

Recommended Grades

  • Pre-K through 12th+

Concepts

  • None.  It's just for fun!

"The Longest Night: A Winter's Tale" (with a live sky tour) (available 11/3 - 2/26 only)

Winter is cold, dark time, a time of rest.  This modern-day folk tale follows a family of storytellers who come to a village to tell tales on the longest of nights.  They tell tales of old, of mirth and of laughter; tales of the moon and stars; tales of beasts, and heroes brave.  The young girl and her grandparents rely on the generosity of others, but alas, these villagers have little to share.  Setting out on a simple quest, the young girl comes across a mysterious, but knowledgable, old woman.  Why must winter be so cold and dark?  “Only if the fire is rekindled will the springtime come again” the old woman tells her.  The program explores the concept that winter is a time for Earth to rest, in preparation for the new growth of spring.

A live sky tour follows the program, featuring constellations, planets, the moon and other items of interest currently visible in the sky, with tips for finding your way around in the heavens on the next clear night, and stories about the stars.

Recommended Grades

  • K through 12th+

Concepts

  • A magical, artistic fable of winter rest and spring rebirth for entertainment purposes.

"The Star of Bethlehem" (with a live sky tour) (available 12/1 - 12/18 only)

The age-old mystery of the Star of Bethlehem is explored in this Christmas planetarium program.  Travel back in time to the Middle East and delve into the writings of the time, including scripture from the Bible, to search for clues to add to our modern scientific knowledge of the nature of the heavens above to see if there might be some natural explanation the star's appearance.  Can the star be understood scientifically, or is its explanation only to be found in realm of the miraculous?

Note: This program has strong religious content.

A live sky tour follows the program, featuring constellations, planets, the moon and other items of interest currently visible in the sky, with tips for finding your way around in the heavens on the next clear night, and stories about the stars.

Recommended Grades

  • K through 12th+

Concepts

  • Lunar eclipses
  • Origins of the modern calendar
  • Comets
  • Meteors
  • Supernovae
  • Planetary conjunctions
  • Winter solstice
  • Ancient perceptions of the nature and meaning of celestial objects and motions

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