Planetarium Resources

Solar Superstorms

Suitable for: College, General Audiences, Grades 4-5, Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12

Covered subject areas: Cosmology, Earth Science, Solar System, Space Science & Astronomy

Runtime: 24 minutes

Release date: 2015


Narrated by Benedict Cumberbatch.

A fury is building on the surface of the Sun: high-velocity jets, a fiery tsunami wave 100,000 km high, rising loops of electrified gas. What’s driving these strange phenomena? How will they affect planet Earth? Find the answers as we venture into the seething interior of our star.

Solar Superstorms is a major new production that takes viewers into the tangle of magnetic fields and superhot plasma that vent the Sun’s rage in dramatic flares, violent solar tornadoes, and the largest eruptions in the Solar System: coronal mass ejections.

The show features one of the most intensive efforts ever made to visualize the Sun’s inner workings, including a series of groundbreaking scientific visualizations computed on the giant supercomputing initiative, Blue Waters, based at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications, University of Illinois.

A co-production of Spitz Creative Media, NCSA’s Advanced Visualization Lab, and Thomas Lucas Productions, in association with Fiske Planetarium at the University of Colorado (Boulder).

This project has been made possible with support from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the Pennsylvania Film Office; funded in part by the National Science Foundation.

Solar Superstorms explores related content including:

  • The Earth-Sun relationship
  • Importance of magnetic fields in space
  • The nature of polar auroras
  • Space weather and the threat to communications and power networks
  • Monitoring solar behavior

Black Holes: The Other Side of Infinity

Suitable for: College, General Audiences, Grades 4-5, Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12

Covered Subject Areas: Cosmology, Space Science & Astronomy

Running Time: 23 minutes

Release Date: 2007


Seen by millions worldwide, Black Holes: the Other Side of Infinity is one of the most successful full-dome shows ever produced.

Narrated by Academy-Award nominated actor Liam Neeson, this cutting-edge production features high-resolution visualizations of cosmic phenomena, working with data generated by supercomputer simulations, to bring the current science of black holes to the dome screen.

Audiences will be dazzled with striking, immersive animations of the formation of the early universe, star birth and death, the collision of giant galaxies, and a simulated flight to a super-massive black hole lurking at the center of our own Milky Way Galaxy.

Supported by grants from NASA’s high-energy GLAST telescope project and the National Science Foundation, the program is accompanied by an extensive Educator’s Guide.

Produced by Thomas Lucas Productions and Denver Museum of Nature & Science.


Stars: The Powerhouses of the Universe

Suitable for: College, General Audiences, Grades 4-5, Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12

Covered Subject Areas: Cosmology, Solar System, Space Science & Astronomy

Running Time: 26 minutes

Release Date: 2008


Narrated by Mark Hamill.

Every star has a story. Some are as old as time, faint and almost forgotten.

Journey to the furthest reaches of our galaxy and experience both the awesome beauty and destructive power of stars. Educational content includes stellar evolution, space exploration, the electromagnetic spectrum, and the history of astronomy.

Produced by NSC Creative.


Oasis in Space

Suitable for: College, General Audiences, Grades 4-5, Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12

Covered Subject Areas: Cosmology, Earth Science, Life Science & Nature, Solar System, Space Science & Astronomy

Running Time: 23 minutes

Release Date: 2003


One of Spitz’s most popular and evergreen productions, Oasis In Space transports the audience on a startling and beautiful voyage through our universe, galaxy and solar system in search of liquid water, a key ingredient for life on Earth.

With a proven, audience-tested story, a 95% viewer approval rating, and an original surround format musical score, Oasis In Space will delight viewers of all ages.

Produced by Spitz Creative Media.


Two Small Pieces of Glass

Suitable for: Ages 9+

Covered Subject Areas: Astronomy, Optics, Telescopes, History of Astronomy

Running Time: 25 mins

Release Date: 2009


400 years ago, a simple adjustment to a child’s spyglass revealed for the first time an infinite and perplexing universe to your eyes and imaginations. Join us today, as the world’s great telescopes, born of that serendipitous moment, gaze ever further into the distant past — and into our future. While attending a local star party, two teenage students learn how the telescope has helped us understand our place in space and how telescopes continue to expand our understanding of the Universe. Their conversation with a local female astronomer enlightens them on the history of the telescope and the discoveries these wonderful tools have made. The students see how telescopes work and how the largest observatories in the world use these instruments to explore the mysteries of the universe. While looking through the astronomer’s telescope, the students, along with the planetarium audience, explore the Galilean Moons, Saturn’s rings, and spiral structure of galaxies. During their conversation with the astronomer, they also learn about the discoveries of Galileo, Huygens, Newton, Hubble and many others.




Suitable for: Ages 6+

Covered Subject Areas: Stellar Evolution, History of the Solar System

Running Time: 21 mins

Release Date: 2016


Travel back to the beginning of time and experience the birth of the Sun. Discover how it came to support life, how it threatens life as we know it, and how its energy will one day fade away.

Produced by the Michigan Science Center


Chasing the Ghost Particle: From the South Pole to Edge of the Universe

Suitable for: General audience 14 – 18, Adults

Covered Subject Areas: Cosmology

Running Time: 30 minutes

Release Date: 2013


Deep in the ice at the heart of Antarctica, the biggest and strangest detector in the world waits for mysterious messengers from the cosmos. The detector is IceCube! The messengers are neutrinos–ghostly particles that give us tantalizing looks into world of exploding stars and black holes.

This show tells the incredible story of how an international team of scientists and engineers transformed one billion tons of Antarctic ice into a telescope. Building IceCube was a titanic endeavor driven by our human passion for discovery.

Your audiences will witness stunning views of the South Pole, captivating animations of the IceCube detectors capturing a neutrino collision–and eye-catching views of the cosmos. Chasing the Ghost Particle: From the South Pole to the Edge of the Universe will take you on a journey you will never forget.

A co-production of the Daniel M. Soref Planetarium at the Milwaukee Public Museum and the Wisconsin IceCube Particle Astrophysics Center (WIPAC) of the University of Wisconsin–Madison.


From Earth to the Universe

Suitable for: Ages 14+

Covered Subject Areas: Cosmology, History of Astronomy, Solar System

Running Time: 30 minutes

Release Date: 2015


The night sky, both beautiful and mysterious, has been the subject of campfire stories, ancient myths and awe for as long as there have been people. A desire to comprehend the Universe may well be humanity’s oldest shared intellectual experience. Yet only recently have we truly begun to grasp our place in the vast cosmos. To learn about this journey of celestial discovery, from the theories of the ancient Greek astronomers to today’s grandest telescopes, we invite you to experience From Earth to the Universe.

This stunning, 30-minute voyage through space and time conveys, through sparkling sights and sounds, the Universe revealed to us by science. Viewers can revel in the splendor of the worlds in the Solar System and our scorching Sun. From Earth to the Universe takes the audience out to the colorful birthplaces and burial grounds of stars, and still further out beyond the Milky Way to the unimaginable immensity of a myriad galaxies. Along the way, the audience will learn about the history of astronomy, the invention of the telescope, and today’s giant telescopes that allow us to probe ever deeper into the Universe.

Produced by: European Southern Observatory – ESO Supernova Planetarium

Directed by: Theofanis Matsopoulos