Our planetarium shows and the outreach activities are special and so are we. Why? Because we are passionate about outreach and education and we bring enthusiasm for science and learning! Our staff are all affiliated with the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Wayne State University, bringing a dedication to science, teaching and research to their planetarium shows.
Our planetarium shows include more than just a full dome film. We begin each one of our shows with an interactive demonstration. After the lights come down, we continue with the current night sky on fulldome film.
If you want to extend your visit, why not plan a "science day" and add our Phantastic Physics Phenomena!
We begin our planetarium shows with interactive demonstrations:
- Learn about "size and distance" in our solar system. Compare the diameters of Earth, our Moon and Mars and get a feel for the distances between these celestial objects. We accomplish this with the help of balloons, an inflatable globe, and our visitors!
- Learn about the visible spectrum and the discrete spectra of hydrogen and helium. Find out why there is so much red in the Hubble Space Telescope images. Wear cool diffraction glasses and see a rainbow emerge before your eyes!
After the demonstration, we continue with the current night sky:
- Learn how to find constellations and famous star patterns like the Big Dipper.
- Learn how to navigate the night sky by using clever tactics like "arcing to Arcturus."
- Learn about "light years" and why this term is actually a measure of distance.
- We'll set our planetarium software to show you the current sky over Detroit, so you can see which stars and planets are visible at the time of your visit.
Once you have traversed the current night sky, sit back and relax and enjoy a fulldome film. We have a variety of films available in our planetarium, appropriate for different age groups. You can select from our list of films or contact us for recommendations.
Phantastic Physics Phenomena
Stick around for the after-party. Phantastic Physics Phenomena are demonstrations led by planetarium staff or physics faculty. Many of the phenomena relate to astronomy, such as exploring very cold temperatures or understanding how planetary motion works.
- Learn about the principle of the conservation of angular momentum. Watch, as one of your students is selected to demonstrate the "skater's spin." See what happens when she stretches her arms out and what happens as she brings her arms into her chest. Will she spin faster or slower?
- See what happens when a beautiful, long stem rose is dipped into a thermos of liquid nitrogen.
- Marvel at a "fire tornado" and learn about the physics behind this fascinating phenomenon.
- Learn about energy through our Van de Graff machine and our Tesla Coil!
Note: There is an additional fee for Phantastic Physics Phenomena.
Our planetarium comfortably seats 60 people. If your group exceeds this, we suggest that you pair your visit to our planetarium with the Phantastic Physics Phenomena. While half of your group is in the planetarium, the other half will be watching physics demos and then we'll switch.