Public Weekend Show Schedule
Public programs in the planetarium star theater are on selected Friday evenings and Saturday afternoons (Please see the schedule below). Please check our schedule by calling 559-278-4121 prior to your visit to confirm that the planetarium will be open. If you would like to make reservations, please call 559-278-4071 so that we can hold tickets for you.
If you have a ticket from Science Adventure Camp, or from a silent auction or raffle, you must call and make a reservation in order to use it, so we will know to hold a seat for you!
There is free parking available for weekend shows in Lot O and Lot P right in front of the planetarium (shown in green on campus map)
(We are closed on Sundays and all holiday weekends. We are also closed during the month of July for theater maintenance.)
Reserving Tickets for Public Weekend Shows
Reservations are recommended, particularly for our popular holiday show. Tickets can be held at the door by calling 559-278-4071 to reserve. Please indicate time and date, quantity and type (Please see "Admission Prices" below.) of tickets requested along with your name and phone number.
Ticket payment can be made at the time of ticket pick-up. Pre-payment is not necessary.
Please note that tickets will be held only until 10 minutes prior to show time and then they will be sold to the next customer. Shows start promptly on the hour.
Free Star Gazing
Each Friday night when the planetarium is open for public shows (see schedule below), weather permitting, we take a telescope outside the planetarium to look at celestial objects. Come and check out double star systems, planets, nebulae, and star clusters. There will be someone to assist you in finding what you want to see. We'll be out in front of the planetarium from about 7:15 - 8:30 pm.
Admission Prices (for public weekend shows):Adults.......................$5.00 Seniors (65 and over)........$4.00 Students with ID.............$2.50 Children (3 - 12)............$2.50
Weekend Show Schedule
|Friday||7:00 PM||Two Small Pieces of Glass|
|August 23||8:00 PM||Dark Matter|
|Saturday||2:00 PM||Bear Tales|
|August 24||3:00 PM||Skywatchers of Ancient Mexico|
|Friday||7:00 PM||Two Small Pieces of Glass|
|September 27||8:00 PM||Dark Matter|
|Saturday||2:00 PM||Trip Through Space|
|September 28||3:00 PM||Space Shuttle: On the Wings of a Dream|
Two Small Pieces of Glass
This program puts the audience in the middle of a modern star party, experiencing the wonders that even a small amateur telescope can reveal. Learn about the invention of the telescope, how a telescope works, and how this important invention has developed and grown over hundreds of years—from the first primitive handheld telescope, to orbiting space telescopes, and gigantic modern ground-based telescopes.
The Endless Horizon
This program explores mankind's innate desire to explore the land, sea, sky, and space in order to better understand our place in the Universe. Hear stories of exploration from ancient times to the Apollo Moon landings, and beyond. Featured explorers include Columbus, Captain James Cook, Galileo, Newton, and many others who have shaped our view of the world--and the Universe.
The Case of the Disappearing Planet
Join Detective Skye Watcher as she examines the changing status of objects we call "planets." What exactly makes an object a planet? Why has that definition changed over the years? The program not only covers Pluto, but the temporary planetary status of asteroids as well. The tally of "planets" in our Solar System has been going up and down for hundreds of years!
Skywatchers of Ancient Mexico
This show examines the early culture, astronomy and history of what is now called Mexico and Central America. Skywatchers will take you to colorful cities like Tenochtitlán and Chichén Itzá, with their large observatories and elaborate temples, as they were when they were the ruling centers of great civilizations. Learn about the importance of astronomical observations to these cultures, and hear stories from their mythology.
Join Phil Plait, the “Bad Astronomer,” as he investigates several astronomical myths and misconceptions, including UFOs, horoscopes, and the Moon landing “hoax,” as well as common astronomical errors in the movies. A fun, informative program for the whole family.
This delightful program is the perfect way to introduce children to the constellations and the Greek mythology associated with the many star pictures in our sky. This program also covers the daily motion of the stars and the importance of the North Star.
Blown Away: The Wild World of Weather
Blown Away gives audiences an incredible look at the weather of our planet Earth in all its many forms. Investigate clouds, tornadoes, lightning, and hurricanes; discover the cause of the seasons we experience on Earth; fly into space to examine the effect the Sun has on our atmosphere; swim with a water droplet through the water cycle; and venture into the "weather kitchen" to find out the "ingredients" necessary to brew up a thunderstorm.
Go on a voyage from the Sun to Pluto with Captain Smith and his crew, and explore all the wonders of the Solar System. Along the way, view recently-discovered moons, mysterious ice-worlds, planets of rock and gas, hazardous asteroids and beautiful comets. Find out how the most distant objects in the Solar System were discovered, and learn about Pluto’s recent reclassification as a dwarf planet. Destination: Pluto is a journey of discovery for space travelers of all ages.
These mighty creatures ruled the earth, seas, and air for over 150 million years before their extinction 65 million years ago. Learn how scientists have been forced to rethink their understanding of dinosaurs in light of fossil evidence suggesting that these creatures were warm-blooded, quick-moving, social animals. This program also addresses the mystery of the sudden extinction of the dinosaurs.
A young boy Emperor of China does not see the importance of learning astronomy from his tutor until one night the Great Azure Dragon of the East comes to life and takes him on a magical journey through the stars. As we experience this journey with him, we learn about the importance of astronomical observations to the ancient Chinese culture, hear one of their legends associated with the stars, and even experience a supernova which was well documented by Chinese astronomers in 1054 A.D.
Explorers of Mauna Kea
Come to the island of Hawaii and discover the telescopes of Mauna Kea. Learn about the exciting research being conducted there by astronomers and explore the Universe with them.
The Great Space Treasure Hunt
Finding a treasure map with our alien friend Bleamer is just the beginning of this space adventure. Journey through the Milky Way Galaxy past many constellations, and hear the story of Cassiopeia the Queen. After exploring the Sun and planets of our Solar System, we find our beautiful blue and white "treasure." This colorful program features lively songs and encourages audience participation.
Honey, I Shrunk the Solar System
This is a story about a girl named Abby, who decides to build a model of the Solar System for the Science Fair. Once she completes her model, she sends her father on a mission to explore each of the planets. You can test your own Solar System knowledge along the way.
This program is an overview of the most significant images and discoveries made by the Hubble Space Telescope, from its launch in 1990 to the present. The great wealth of Hubble's discoveries provides a fascinating tour of the cosmos--from Earth orbit to the limits of the observable Universe--featuring planets, star birth, supernovae, galaxy collisions, black holes, and more.
In Search of New Worlds
For thousands of years, humans have wondered about the possibility of other worlds. Since the invention of the telescope, astronomers have discovered new worlds in our own Solar System: Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto. After a long and difficult search, astronomers have recently confirmed the existence of worlds orbiting stars beyond the Sun. This program explains how astronomers use physics to detect these worlds, and how they plan to determine whether the new planets are hospitable to life.
Larry Cat in Space
This playful program for young children is about Larry, an inquisitive cat who likes to watch the sky. When he finds out that one of his human family members, Diana, is moving to the Moon to work as a lunar geologist, he doesn't want to be left behind. Will Larry Cat find a way to be with Diana again? Throughout the show, Larry shares his "cat's-eye-view" of the Moon, backyard astronomy, space travel, and what it would be like to live on another world.
This program traces the history of Mars from the early observations of Schiaparelli and Lowell, whose imagined "canals" inspired science fiction stories about Martians, to modern observations and mission findings from Viking, Pathfinder, and Mars Global Surveyor, which have given us new insight into the climate, weather, and terrain on the Red Planet. The show also looks into the possibility of human exploration on Mars, examining where on Earth we can prepare for future crewed missions, and what the first landing may be like.
Take a whirlwind tour through the history of astronomical observations, from the first wonderings by prehistoric peoples, to the explosion of information available with the introduction of the telescope, to more modern developments such as multi-wavelength observations and manned space missions. Along the way, learn how historical and social events influenced the advancement of technology and scientific discovery.
This program chronicles the history of NASA’s manned spaceflight program, focusing on the many Space Shuttle missions, and the new plan to put humans back on the Moon by 2020. Included are milestones such as the first American woman in space and the first untethered spacewalk, as well as discussions of the Challenger and Columbia disasters, and how they shaped the future of NASA's space program.
Oceans in Space
This program focuses on the origin and evolution of life on Earth, and the search for life elsewhere in the universe. What conditions existed on an early Earth that allowed life to flourish? Could similar conditions have existed that would allow life to develop on Mars, or on Jupiter's moon Europa? The program also examines methods of detecting planetary systems around other stars, and our search for life outside our own Solar System.
With the most up-to-date information, The Planets takes audiences on a grand tour of the solar system to see amazing images of our neighbor worlds. Is there life on Mars? Do other planets have hurricanes? What makes up the rings of Saturn? What lies beyond Pluto? How was our Solar System formed, and are there other solar systems out there in the stars? Get answers to these fascinating questions and more.
Now expanded and updated with new images from the Cassini spacecraft!
Through breathtaking images and computer simulations, RingWorld tells the history of observation and exploration of Saturn, and gives a detailed account of the Cassini mission, and what astronomers and engineers hope it will accomplish. Take a trip with the Cassini spacecraft to study the planet Saturn, its beautiful rings, and its many fascinating moons. Learn how Cassini will communicate with Earth and send images and data back home. With Cassini's Huygens probe, study the surface of Saturn's largest moon, Titan, to discover if it resembles an ancient Earth.
Season of Light
This family-oriented program focuses on winter holiday traditions from many cultures, and how they have been used for millennia to light up this darkest and coldest of seasons. It also showcases some of our more light-hearted customs--such as giving gifts, kissing under the mistletoe, and decorating Christmas trees. The program highlights some of the winter constellations, demonstrates the cause of the four seasons and the meaning of the winter solstice, and even gives some astronomical possibilities for the Star of Bethlehem.
Spirits from the Sky: Thunder on the Land
This program takes the audience inside a Pawnee Earth lodge to join the chiefs in using the smoke hole to sight the stars of the Council-of-Chiefs passing overhead at dawn. The stars announce the annual cycle of rebirth and renewal. Out under the vast skies of the plains, the cycles of the Pawnee's stars determined the ceremonial year--from the first planting, to the summer buffalo hunt, through the harvest and the winter buffalo hunt. This program also depicts the Pawnee creation legend
This program showcases the life-cycles of stars, from their fiery births in clouds of gas and dust to their eventual demise. Featured in the program is Professor James Kaler of the University of Illinois. Dr. Kaler tells the story of how he became an astronomer, and some of the lessons he has learned from the stars over the years. Several other famous stargazers make appearances throughout the show as well.
Stella: Adventures of a Black Hole
Join Stella the black hole and her friends in two short adventures featuring topics from star birth and stellar evolution to black holes and multi-wavelength astronomy. In the first episode, we find Stella fed up with the tabloids blaming her for everything that goes wrong in the universe. She decides to give her reporter friend the scoop on black holes, hoping her personal story will clear up some public misconceptions. Next, we join Stella as she helps detective Joe Cosmos in his search for a missing star, and learn all about stellar evolution along the way
Welcome to the Universe
NOTE: This ten-minute program is shown ONLY with Daughter of the Stars or Stardate: Ancient Horizons.
Lean back, strap yourself in, and take a brief tour of the Universe. Travel through our Solar System, venture through star-filled nebulae, journey to the edge of the Milky Way Galaxy, and beyond.
Daughter of the Stars
This program is a collection of Native American sky stories, including the creation of the heavens and Earth from the Iroquois, the origin of the Sun and Moon from the Kutenai, and the cause of solar eclipses according to the Bella Coola. Learn how men traveled to the Moon to bring fire back to Earth for all the people in a legend from the Snake Indians. These stories will delight young and old alike.
Stardate: Ancient Horizons
Explore the astronomy of the ancient Egyptians in this fascinating program. These people sought to explain the order of the Universe: the cycles of life and death, the annual flooding of the Nile, the succession of divine kings, and the nightly march of the stars across the sky. This quest to understand the cosmic order motivated the Egyptians to study the sky, worship celestial objects, and build their great pyramids.
Women in Astronomy
This program explores the many varied contributions women have made to the field of astronomy, from Hypatia in ancient times, to more recent groundbreaking discoveries by women such as Annie Jump Cannon, Jocelyn Bell, and Vera Rubin. Women in Astronomy chronicles the obstacles women have overcome, and examines the science behind the fascinating discoveries that propelled them to the cutting edge of research in astronomy.
The Wright Way to Fly
Follow the Wright brothers, Wilbur and Orville, from inquisitive children interested in flying kites and building toys, to successful bicycle shop owners, through the development of the first powered aircraft in 1903. This program, conceived as an interview with the two brothers shortly after their first successful flights, shows that their success depended not only on their intelligence, but also their hard work and determination, dedication to researching the science of flight, collaboration with other scientists, and reliance on the scientific method to make the most out of their experiments.