The Museum’s Astronomy Department is committed to exploring the universe with Museum guests through exhibit education, public programming, evening observing, and Space Theater Shows in our planetarium, the Caryl D. Philips Space Theater.
What's Showing Today?
Click here to view a printable planetarium schedule for the current month.
Click here to view a searchable calendar of all Museum programs, including Space Theater shows.
Space Theater Shows
The Astronomy Department at the Boonshoft Museum hosts both traditional Planetarium shows and full-dome films. Ranging from 15-40 minutes, Space Theater shows* are both entertaining and educational, giving guests the opportunity for an up-close look at the Universe. In addition to crystal clear images to explore the night sky and bring objects close enough to—almost!—touch, the Space Theater also offers stunning full-dome movie presentations that are perfect for entertaining visitors from 2 to 102.
Planetarium Shows: Live, interactive shows presented by the Boonshoft Museum's Astronomy Department take visitors on a tour through the night sky, featuring stunningly bright stars and images of the planets and moons of our Solar System, offering a glimpse of what lies "out there."
- The Sky Tonight -- A live show answers the question “If I go outside tonight, what will I see if the sky is clear?” Planets, the Moon, bright stars, major constellations, wonderful special effects, and current astronomical events are all featured. 30 minutes | Ages 4+
Full-Dome Films: These family-friendly educational films bring the Planetarium to full-color life with images of Earth, space, and even the distant past! Be transported to the darkest reaches of space, explore the night sky as you travel the world with your favorite Sesame Street characters, or even discover the wonders of the ancient world!
- Flying Monsters -- For thousands of years humans have believed that there were once flying monsters. About 220 million years ago dinosaurs were on the rise to dominating the Earth while another group of reptiles were about to control the skies. These lizards, pterosaurs, some the size of giraffes with wingspans of 40 feet, were the first flying vertebrates. 40 minutes | Ages 6+
- SpacePark360 -- Take a wild ride through the Solar System! Experience the Solar System at new heights with simulated roller coasters and more. 32 minutes | All Ages
- Cosmic Colors -- Take an adventure along the spectrum and discover the world of color. Learn why plants are green, the sky is blue, and Mars is red. Discover how scientists use the entire electromagnetic spectrum to view the universe. 32 minutes | Ages 8+
- Seven Wonders -- Experience the ancient wonders of the world as they appeared thousands of years ago. Explore the Great Pyramid, stand in the shadow of the towering Colossus, and experience the rest of the world’s Seven Wonders along with astronomical wonders of the Universe! 33 minutes | Ages 6+
- One World, One Sky: Big Bird’s Adventure -- Join Big Bird and Elmo from Sesame Street® as they explore the night sky with Hu Hu Zhu, a Muppet from China. Together, they take an imaginary trip from Sesame Street to the Moon, where they discover how different it is from Earth. 25 minutes | Ages 2+
- Wildest Weather in the Solar System -- Fly through the thick atmosphere of Venus, magnetic storms on the sun, liquid methane showers on Titan, and anticyclones whirling at hundreds of miles per hour on Jupiter on this spectacular journey through our Solar System. From a storm the size of a 100-megaton hydrogen bomb to a 400-year-old hurricane and a dust tempest that could engulf entire planets, you'll be glad you live on Earth! 25 minutes | Ages 6+
- Did an Asteroid Really Kill the Dinosaurs? -- Join a class as they visit a museum to see the dinosaurs they have displayed. As part of the discussion, students learn about meteorites, asteroids, and comets and how they have affected Earth. 27 minutes | Ages 6+
- Space Next -- The journey to reach the stars began with our earliest dreams of flying, and led to landing on the Moon and sending a probe to Pluto. But that's only the beginning. Space Next offers a glimpse into tomorrow, and the possibilities of what is to come by way of private space developments and national space programs. Ages 6+
- Phantom of the Universe: The Hunt for Dark Matter - From speculation about the Big Bang to ongoing research at CERN's Large Hadron Collider located near Geneva, Switzerland, some of the world’s top physicists are searching for ways to understand the complex phenomenon known as "dark matter". Explore what we know – and what we don't yet know! – at this dynamic presentation that takes visitors on a visually stunning journey from the initial glimmers of understanding that there is more "out there" than we can see and understand, to the cutting edge research happening today. Narrated by Academy Award winner Tilda Swinton, with sound by an Academy Award winning team at Skywalker Sound. 25 minutes | Ages 8+
Plan Your Visit! Please be aware that not all shows listed above will be available every day – or even every month. Show runs range from a few months to several years, based on visitor interest and educational value. Be sure to check today's schedule for details about what's showing on the big screen during your visit!
*NOTE: The planetarium is different than a movie theater in that the motion is presented above and around the viewer. While this makes for a very immersive experience, some viewers may find the simulated motion to be disorienting. For those audience members who find the simulated motion to be jarring, we recommend that they close their eyes for a brief period. Our planetarium seats are bolted to the floor and do not move, and our shows are safe for all audiences.
3rd Friday Astronomy Programs
Join us on the third Friday of each month for special, after-hours programs! Explore the cosmos—or just watch a family-friendly film on the big screen—in the Space Theater before viewing the night sky through the lens of our 50cm Dahl-Kirkham telescope in the Apollo Observatory (weather permitting). Admission to educational programs and observing is free; admission applies to films.
- Evening of Astronomy: These FREE educational programs generally begin at 7:00 p.m. and last 30-45 minutes. Topics vary throughout the year, and are based on current astronomical events, discoveries, and more.
- Science Cinema: Join us for a topical, age-appropriate educational presentation, followed by a family-friendly film shown on the dome of the planetarium. Admission fees apply.
Search for dates and other details about Evening of Astronomy presentations and Science Cinema films using our online calendar, or refer to this month's printable calendar.
Looking for more information about booking an astronomy program at your school or community center? Learn more about StarLab, the Museum's portable Planetarium.