Planetariums create an "artificial sky" that can simulate the appearance of the starry sky, a worthwhile alternative to stargazing during the day and on cloudy nights. Planetariums can be a great tool for learning many elements of astronomy, including the constellations, the geometry of the sky, and the cycles of the Sun, Moon and planets. Also, planetariums are always bringing out new shows, so there's no ends to the benefits of regularly attending your local planetarium.
Use the following list to find the planetarium in your area, and to learn the times of shows and coming events.
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Institutions Offering Public Shows
The Bowling Green State University Planetarium is a 118-seat public science theater serving BGSU students, area schools, and the public of northwest Ohio. Set under a 40-foot dome, the Minolta star projector can show the sky as it would be seen from any place on the Earth at any time, including the Sun, Moon, planets, and more than 4000 stars. The Planetarium's 50 slide projectors, video projection system, special visual effects projectors, multi-channel sound system, and Omni-Q automation controls are used to create educational multimedia programs on astronomy and other topics.
The Planetarium was opened in 1984 and is operated by the Department of Physics and Astronomy. Public Planetarium Programs open to all are given from September through early May each year. Programs feature a star talk showing the current evening sky followed by a multimedia planetarium show. Weekend programs are followed by stargazing at the Observatory on the roof, weather permitting. More than 50 different programs are available for all ages from pre-school through adults. These include multimedia shows, live interactive programs, and workshops.
Caryl D. Philips Space Theater
Cosmic Adventures offers a variety of astronomy programs that present an exciting glimpse into the science of astronomy. All programs are presented at the students' school, and are designed to reinforce and enhance the science curricula in elementary, middle, and senior high schools. Many of the programs are also applicable to other curricula such as social studies and history. Each presentation is tailored to the age group of the students.
Cosmic Adventures was founded Dr. La Favre in 1994 for the purpose of presenting programs on astronomy to school children. The program includes a Starlab portable planetarium, and utilizes a multimedia approach to astronomy, including projection slides, video tapes, models, telescopes and other instruments. The planetarium instrument projects the planets and stars for any day of the year, and includes a portable dome that seats 30 students.
Drake Planetarium is located on the top floor of Norwood Sr. High School. Even though the planetarium is located in the high school, it is a separate, non-profit science foundation governed by a board of trustees from area universities, corporations, and school districts. Drake Planetarium offers science programs to children ages pre-school through university level. Drake Planetarium is a separate nonprofit education foundation supported by admission revenues, donations, and grants. All funds generated by the planetarium are used to support and improve our educational programming to all students throughout the Greater Cincinnati area.
The space center has provided over 24 years of science programs for children throughout Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana. Drake Planetarium has a base planetarium; a portable planetarium called The Traveling Galaxy Show and sponsors a variety of environmental programs at Lindner Park. The planetarium's seating capacity is 75 visitors per show and programs are available for audiences ranging from preschool age to senior citizens.
Our mission is to provide a wide range of supplemental, active learning science programs that stress the learned use of higher order thinking skills necessary to function in today's society. We are committed to offering age-appropriate, hands-on, fun oriented student participation in lab experiences that stress higher order thinking skills.
Kent State University Planetarium is maintained by the Physics Department for use in its astronomy courses, as well as for presentation of shows for groups outside the department. The spherical star ball is capable of reproducing on the dome most stars visible to the naked eye from any place on earth. The entire sky can be revolved as if the audience were turned in their seats to make viewing all parts of the sky easier. The fiberglass bucket-type seats tilt back for overhead viewing. Seating capacity is about 125.
Kent State University Planetarium normally presents more than one hundred shows per year to over 10,000 people. The Planetarium usually presents annually a series of four public shows, primarily for small groups and individuals, which includes our Christmas show ("The Star of Bethlehem") and Easter show ("Easter and the Calendar"). Shows can presently be arranged for youth, educational, and civic groups of 25 or more persons. For reservations or more information, contact the Planetarium Director.
The Ralph Mueller Planetarium opened to the public in March 1959. Museum Trustee Ralph Mueller was a major supporter who provided the funds for construction of the facility, which includes a small display area for the Museum's collections of meteorites, tektites and antique celestial instruments.
Neil Armstrong Planetarium
Since its opening in 1968, the Ritter Planetarium has served the Northwestern Ohio and Southeastern Michigan community by increasing the public's knowledge of and interest in astronomy. The Ritter Planetarium- Brooks Observatory offers several opportunities for the people of the Metro Toledo community to learn more about astronomy. The planetarium is open twice a week for public programs. Schools and civic groups can also arrange to have a private planetarium presentation.
The Planetarium presents its public programs on Friday and Saturday evenings at 7:30 pm. The lobby, containing several hands-on science exhibits, opens to the public at 7:00 pm. The program changes approximately every 10 weeks. The public planetarium programs usually last between 45 and 60 minutes, including a question and answer period after the program. Depending upon sky conditions, observing at the Brooks Observatory follows the planetarium presentation at no additional cost.
Sandusky County Planetarium
The Schuele Planetarium was completed in 1968 and is the building adjacent to the Lake Erie Nature and Science Center. All public programs are on the second and fourth Saturdays of the month at 7pm (doors open at 6:30pm), unless otherwise noted. Members of LENSC are free. Otherwise, it's $3.00 per adult and $1.00 per child. No registration, pay at the door.
School and Private Group Programs - A private program for your class can be prepared to order. Grades K through 12 are welcome to come learn about the stars. Call the Center to schedule a class. Scout Programs are also available.
Spectacular Skies Planetarium
Trailside Nature Center
& Wolff Planetarium
The Ward Beecher Planetarium has been offering shows on astronomy, space exploration, space science, and related topics to the general public and school groups for three decades. Admission to all Planetarium programs is free and open to the public. Because it is dark in the Planetarium (and it's not safe to negotiate the steps in the dark), latecomers cannot be admitted.
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School and University Planetariums