Allen F. Blocher Planetarium

Public Programs

  • These programs are free of charge
  • The doors will open 30 minutes before shows unless stated otherwise


                               Regular Semester Shows 

     Sunday afternoons at 2 p.m. and Monday evenings at 8 p.m.

SHOWDATES: September 14, 21, 28, October 5, 12
The dancing lights of the aurora borealis will be the topic of our first fall show. The program starts by looking at some of the stories that natives of northern lands had to explain the curious glow that frequently lit up their northern skies. Early cultures like the Inuit of Alaska, the Norse, and the Finnish all had different ways of interpreting these heavenly fires. In more modern times, scientists and astronomers have developed a thorough understanding of these lights in the sky. From Galileo, who named the aurora borealis, through Edmund Halley, and to Ben Franklin, who first proposed an association with the Earth's magnetic field, we follow our understanding of the formation and cause of the aurora. Learn how the aurora is not only linked to the Earth's magnetic field but also to the activity of the Sun. Solar storms and outbursts are the real source of the aurora. Imagine countless streams of solar particles racing towards us on a collision course with our home world. Learn what happens when these particles crash into our planet Earth, as they light up our skies with lights that, once seen, are never along with a young woman on her personal quest to find a special place in the night sky.Starting with her childhood adventures then to the discovery of her “birthday star”, these experiences eventually led her to becoming an astronomer.Finally she shares telescopic views of celestial objects.Sky Quest is narrated by Roxann Dawson and is an entertaining and educational exploration of the night sky that appeals to family members of all ages.
The Night Skies of Fall - Mondays

SHOWDATES: September 22, 29, October 6, 13, 20, 27, November 3, 10, 17, 24   
Showtimes 20:00 (8 p.m.)

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

Future Shows -

Mars Quest  
SHOWDATES: Ocotber 26,  November 2, 9, 16, 23
Mars conjures up impressions that range from the hottest scientific frontier to alien invaders from science fiction.  Mars has been an impressive object in our skies all summer.  This fall it remains visible in the evening until early winter.  MarsQuest offers viewers both a historical and a futuristic look at the mysterious Red Planet.  Narrated by Patrick Stewart (“Star Trek: The Next Generation”) and presented in three short sections, this program begins by tracing our historic views of Mars.  The program moves in the second part from the one-eyed green Martians of science fiction to the realities of actual scientific observations.  Learn how the misconceptions of Mars vanished when the Viking landers visited the Red Planet.  This program concludes with a look into future missions to Mars, both unmanned and manned.  Join us as we learn about Mars, the Red Planet.osmic Colors will take you on a wondrous journey across the entire electromagnetic spectrum. Discover the reasons for color like why the sky is blue and why Mars is red. Take a tour within a plant leaf and journey inside the human eye. Investigate x-rays by voyaging to a black hole and then back to your doctor’s office. You will even see the actual color of a dinosaur--based on recent evidence. Get ready for an amazing adventure under a rainbow of cosmic light!
The Night Skies of Winter - Mondays

SHOWDATES: December 1, 8, 15    January 26, February 2, 9, 16, 23   
Showtimes 20:00 (8 p.m.)

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