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In the Hastings Museum Planetarium you’ll experience a sunset – and sunrise – with a terrific show in between!

The Hastings Museum prides itself in being up to date on the current teaching policies, Nebraska state standards, and including hands on learning activities that are difficult to do in a classroom setting in all of our school programs.

Our planetarium gives students an opportunity to travel through the solar system, see the stars being born, new planets being discovered, and learn about the space technology you have talks about in your classroom first hand. Plus, there is no extra charge to see a planetarium show when you are visiting the museum!

Note that the Planetarium’s seating capacity is 47 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 visitorservices@hastingsmuseum.org.

Sky Shows

The Sky Tonight – Grades K-12 (30-45 minutes)
This is a live, interactive tour of the current evening sky. Bright stars, constellations, planets, and any unusual sights are highlighted during this program. 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 Sky Tonight Full Dome may be added at the close of the full dome show if desired.

One World, One Sky: Big Bird’s Adventure – Grades PreK – 1 (27 minutes)
Discover the Big Dipper, the North Star, the Sun, and the Moon with your Sesame Street friends.

The Little Star That Could – Grades K-3 (36 minutes)
The Little Star discovers how stars are born, die, and why stars are different colors. Near the end of his search, the Little Star finds out about planets.

Rusty Rocket’s Last Blast – Grades 1-5 (39 minutes)
Audiences will get an introductory tour of the solar system, focusing on the wide variety of planetary environments and immense distances between them.

Earth, Moon & Sun – Grades 2-5 (28 minutes)
Learn about the relationship between the Earth, Moon and Sun with the help of Coyote, a fun character adapted from Native American oral traditions.

Flight Adventures – Grades 3-8 (20 minutes)
Discover the science and history of flight through the eyes of a young girl and her grandfather as they explore how birds, kites, planes, and models fly.

Two Small Pieces of Glass – Grades 3-12 (23 minutes)
At a modern star party, see how Galileo Galilei built a “spyglass” and first aimed it to the heavens over 400 years ago.

Back to the Moon for Good – Grades 4-12 (25 minutes)
Immerse yourself in a race to return to the Moon 40 years after the historic Apollo landings. See how a competition among teams is ushering in a new era of lunar exploration. Learn about the Moon’s resources and discover what humanity’s future on the Moon might hold.

To Space & Back – Grades 4-12 (25 minutes)
To Space & Back takes audiences on an incredible journey from the far reaches of our known universe to our own planet. It is an extraordinary story of human ingenuity and incredible engineering, describing how the technology that transports us through space is paving the way for the devices and apps we use every day. What is happening above is coming back down to Earth!

Dawn of the Space Age – Grades 4-12 (41 minutes)
From the launch of the first artificial satellite Sputnik, to the magnificent lunar landings and privately operated space flights — be immersed and overwhelmed with this most accurate historic reconstruction of man's first steps into space. Who were these men and women who took part in these death-defying endeavors? Witness their drive, their passion, and their perseverance to explore… in Dawn of the Space Age.

Extrasolar Planets: Discovering New Worlds – Grades 4-12 (31 Minutes)
Earth revolves around a star that is no different in size than any other. Astronomers today are using specialized equipment to observe stars in our galaxy to search for a star that might have planets orbiting it. This discovery would prove once and for all that we are not alone.

Nine Planets and Counting – Grades 4-12 (37 minutes)
Discover planets and other celestial objects with a journey through the Solar System. This show was produced in 2006 just before Pluto was demoted to dwarf planet status.

Season of Light – Grades 4-12 (36 minutes)
We discuss the Winter Solstice, the origins of holiday traditions, and conclude with a possible explanation for the famous Star of Bethlehem.

Sunstruck! – Grades 5-8 (21 minutes)
Heliophysics is the main component of the Sunstruck! It includes information on the sun, parts/layers, space weather, and its impact on Earth. We used several NASA heliophysics missions including SOHO, IRIS, and SDO. The audience should gain an enhanced understanding of the Sun and how it impacts our world.

A Classic Returns as a Digital Full Dome Show!
Spirits from the Sky – Grades 3-12 (33 minutes)
Take an in-depth look at the Pawnee nation, which thrived in parts of Kansas and Nebraska from the late 1600s to the 1750s. Students will learn how the Pawnee organized their calendar according to which stars were visible in the sky, and hear the Pawnee creation legend.

Black Holes – Grades 5-12 (40 minutes)
Some of the most mysterious objects known, black holes defy the imagination. Explore how black holes form, their strange properties, and what exactly would happen if you got too close!

Cosmic Colors – Grades 5-12 (32 minutes)
Discover the many 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 monstrous black hole and then back at your doctor’s office.

Infinity Express – Grades 5-12 (25 minutes)
Learn the latest breakthroughs in our quest to understand the universe with Hubble Space Telescope images.

Solar Quest – Grades 5-12 (12 minutes)
This short feature demonstrates how the Sun and Earth are interconnected and that we are “Living with a Star”.

STARS – Grades 5-12 (26 minutes)
Experience the awesome beauty and destructive power of stars, and we find out why some stars last a billion years and others burn for only a short time.

IBEX: Search for the Edge of the Solar System – Grades 7-12 (29 minutes)
This show follows the creation of NASA’s Interstellar Boundary Explorer (IBEX) and gives audiences an in-depth look at the mission.

DARK – Grades 9-12 (20 minutes)
Explore the nature of Dark Matter, the missing 80% of the mass of the Universe. Finding answers will help us understand why the Universe is as it is, where it came from, and how it has evolved over billions of years.

Other Programs

Solar Observing – Grades 4-12 (approximately 20 minutes)
Participants safely view the Sun in three different ways: with the unaided eye, through a telescope equipped with a white-light solar filter, and a hydrogen-alpha filter. The outside temperature must be at least 30° F. This activity is recommended for groups of 20 people or less.

Seasonal Star Gazing
The Sky Tonight in Full Dome is a seasonal sky show discussing the highlights of the current season: Fall, Winter, Spring, or Summer. It discusses the issue of light pollution and how it affects our view of the night sky. It is offered in two formats: the full show and mini show. The full show averages 14 minutes and the mini show averages 7 minutes.