In the Hastings Museum Planetarium you’ll experience a sunset – and sunrise – with a terrific show in between!
We have several school shows that are perfect for students of all ages – both star-focused shows and full dome shows. See available shows and other activities below.
We generally schedule Planetarium shows on the hour but you can easily arrange a time that works best for your school group by contacting Visitor Services.
Note that the Planetarium’s seating capacity is 48 people, so if you have a larger group two shows will be necessary.
For details and reservations, contact Visitor Services at at 402-461-4629, 800-508-4629 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Sky Tonight — Grades K-12 (30-45 minutes)
Our version of the traditional planetarium show: a live, interactive tour of the current sky. Your show presenter points out the bright stars, constellations, planets, and any unusual sights that await the stargazer. Questions from the audience are encouraged after the show. This show is adapted for different grades and levels of interest.
First Stars — Grade Pre-K (about 15 minutes)
A shortened version of The Sky Tonight for very young sky watchers introduces the planetarium and its starry sky. This show begins with a sunset and ends with sunrise.
Full Dome Shows
Full dome shows are pre-recorded and include a video image covering nearly the entire dome. A short version of The Sky Tonight show may be added at the close of the full dome show if desired.
One World, One Sky: Big Birds Adventure – Grades Pre K-3 (25 minutes) NEW!
Explore the night sky with your friends from Sesame Street. Follow along with Big Bird, Elmo, and their friend from China, Hu Hu Zhu, as they take you on a journey of discovery to learn about the Big Dipper, the North Star, the Sun, and the Moon.
The Little Star That Could – Grades K-3 (37 minutes)
This show tells the story of a star searching for his planets. Along the way, the Little Star discovers how stars are born, how stars die, and why stars are different colors. Near the end of his search, the Little Star finds out about planets. An old favorite that looks as good as ever in full dome!
Earth, Moon & Sun – Grades 2-5 (30 minutes)
This full dome program explores the relationship between the Earth, Moon and Sun with the help of Coyote, a fun character adapted from Native American oral traditions. Why does the Sun rise and set? What’s fusion and solar energy? Examine the Moon’s orbit, craters, phases and eclipses. Also take a look at space travel to the Moon – and beyond.
Flight Adventures – Grades 3-8 (30 minutes) NEW!
Discover the science of flight through the eyes of a young girl and her grandfather as they explore how birds, kites, planes, and models fly. Learn about the history and future of flight and how NASA is discovering new and safer ways to travel with the help of future engineers and aviators – like you!
Two Small Pieces of Glass – Grades 3-12 (35 minutes)
Join a modern star party and discover the wonders that even a small amateur telescope can reveal. See how Galileo Galilei built a “spyglass” and first aimed it to the heavens over 400 years ago.
Nine Planets and Counting – Grades 4-12 (40 minutes)
There are currently eight official planets in our Solar System. But, what exactly is a planet? Discover the answer to this question with a journey through the Solar System, visiting each planet as well as other objects in our solar neighborhood. This show was produced in 2006 just before Pluto was demoted to dwarf planet status.
Season of Light – Grades 4-12 (40 minutes)
Formerly ‘Tis the Season, this popular holiday show has been renamed for full dome. Here we discuss the Winter Solstice and the origins of holiday traditions, concluding with a possible explanation for the famous Star of Bethlehem.
Black Holes – Grades 5-12 (30 minutes)
Some of the most bizarre, enigmatic objects known, black holes defy the imagination. In this show, we explore how black holes form, their strange properties, and what exactly would happen if one got too close! Very highly recommended.
Skywatchers of Ancient Mexico – Grades 5-12 (30 minutes)
Visit the ancient cultures of the Mayans and Aztecs plus explore the ruins of Tenochtitlan and Chichen Itza.
STARS – Grades 5-12 (27 minutes)
Some stars last a billion years while others burn only for a short time. New ones are born every day. Experience the awesome beauty and destructive power of stars.
Infinity Express – Grades 5-12 (30 minutes)
A remarkable blend of science, art, and entertainment, this show dramatically communicates the latest breakthroughs in our quest to understand the universe. Some of the best Hubble Space Telescope images are also shown in a fascinating gallery view.
IBEX: Search for the Edge of the Solar System – Grades 7-12 (30 minutes)
Join scientists who are investigating the boundary between our Solar System and the rest of our galaxy. This show follows the creation of NASA’s Interstellar Boundary Explorer (IBEX). Audiences will get an in-depth look at the mission and how IBEX is collecting high-speed atoms to create a map of our Solar System’s boundary.
Solar Observing – Grades 4-12 (approximately 20 minutes)
Participants safely view our nearest star, the Sun, in three different ways: with the unaided eye, through a telescope equipped with a white-light solar filter (revealing sunspots, if any, on the disk), then finally through a hydrogen-alpha filter, allowing us to see the spectacular prominences along the Sun’s limb. (The outside temperature must be at least 30° F for the h-alpha filter to operate properly). This activity is recommended for groups of 20 people or less.
Starry Night Sky Theater
These educational videos are shown in the planetarium dome. They dramatically and realistically illustrate astronomical phenomena guided by top planetary scientists. See a whole show or just a chapter. You can also add it to a full dome show or The Sky Tonight.
Earth Zone — Grades 3-12 (31 minutes)
Earth’s Moon takes a detailed look at the Moon’s tug, craters and more (13 minutes). Finding Spacecraft includes satellites and space stations (9 minutes). Meteorites – Hard Evidence discusses the difference between meteoroids, meteorites, and more (9 minutes).
Planet Zone — Grades 6-12 (41 minutes)
Inner Planets covers Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars (14 minutes). Outer Planets covers Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and unlucky comets (17 minutes). Oddballs covers Pluto, Binary Kuipers, Sedna, and more (10 minutes).
Sky Tellers: The Myths, The Magic, and The Mysteries of the Universe — Grades K-12
Sky Tellers is a collection of ten Native American and science story couplets. Classes can view one segment per visit. Running times range from 12 to 15 minutes for each segment. The first part of the presentation is the story accompanied only by the planetarium star field, slowly moving over time. This allows children to use their own imaginations to their fullest capacity as the stories were originally intended. The second part of the presentation contains visuals with the scientific explanations.
- Day and Night
- Moon Phases
- Solar System