Allen F. Blocher Planetarium

Public Programs

  • These programs are free of charge.
  • The doors will open 20 minutes before the shows. 
The Planetarium opens for the fall public shows
on Sunday, the 20th of September
The Night Skies of the Fall/WinterMondays at 8 p.m.

SHOWDATES: September 21, 28
                     October 5, 12, 19        (No show on Oct. 26)
                     November 2, 9, 16, 23, 30
                     December 7, 14, 21
Showtimes at 20:00 (8 p.m.)

As the seasons change, so does our view of the night sky.
This show takes an in depth look at the stars, planets and constellations of the current night sky.

If the skies are clear following this planetarium program we open the Arthur J. Pejsa observatory to allow visitors an opportunity to view objects in the real night sky.
MORE THAN MEETS THE EYE - Sunday at 2 p.m.
SHOWDATES: September 20, 27
                     October 4, 11, 18
Most astronomical pictures in magazines or on TV are absolutely breathtaking. However, these images are often very different than what we would see with a telescope. What do the objects in our night sky really look like when we view them through a telescope or a pair of binoculars?  During this show, images of objects will be portrayed in a way that accurately reflects how you might see them during a night of observing, and then we compare them to the observatory photos and spacecraft views. Hopefully you’ll leave with a better appreciation of the wonders you can actually see from your own backyard. 
CLOUDS OF FIRE: The Creation of Stars - Sunday at 2 p.m.
SHOWDATES: October 25
                     November 1, 8, 15, 22
Mention the word astronomy to someone and then ask them, “What was the first image that popped into your head?” A large majority of the people would undoubtedly reply, “STARS!” This makes sense, as we see thousands of them on any clear, moonless night. We wondered about those speckled lights in the sky since we were old enough to ask. Have you ever wanted to really explore just what a star really is? If yes, this program will satisfy your curiosity. We will explore the very nature of a star, from what makes them shine to—well—what makes them in the first place! What are stars made of?  How long do they live? Do they die, and if so, how? In addition, we will probe the very nature of the universe, and discover how you and I came to be. Ultimately, we will realize that we are all, in a fascinating way, descendants of the stars…
WINTER WONDERS - Sunday at 2 p.m.
SHOWDATES: December 6, 13, 20
This program looks at the time of the winter solstice, when the noontime sun is lowest in the sky. Join Jackie and Michelle, two teenage girls, as they hear about Christian and Jewish religious events during this time of year. We also look at some of our more light-hearted traditions: gift-giving and decking the halls with candles and greenery. This program includes a look at some of the solstice customs of some of the peoples of central Africa, China, Native Americans, the Inuit, and the Incas to name a few. We conclude by looking at some of the monuments that have been built by prehistoric peoples to the winter solstice. Winter Wonders is a great holiday program for families. 
SEASON OF LIGHT - Sunday at 3:15 p.m.
SHOWDATES: December 6, 13, 20
This program traces the development of many of the world’s most endearing holiday customs, from the burning Yule log, sparkling Christmas lights, to the lighting of the Menorah and luminarias. Season of Light not only recounts Christian and Jewish historical and religious events during the time of the winter solstice, but also celebrations and rituals of many other cultures. St. Nicholas, Sinterklaas, Kris Kringle, Father Christmas, and Santa Claus all drop by as we also look at some of our more light-hearted traditions: gift-giving, kissing under the mistletoe, and decking the halls with greenery and candles. We conclude by looking at some of the possible astronomical explanations for the Christmas star. Lighten your holiday with a celebration of one of the warmest and brightest of times.