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Daily presentations in our Lyman Spitzer Jr. Planetarium invite you to tour the solar system, stars, and beyond! At the only public planetarium in Vermont, we offer 30 minute presentations for $5 dollars per person (6+ recommended) and a 60 minute live presentation for $7 per person (10+ recommended).

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Are you intrested in space science and astronomy? If so, you've come to the right place! Every other Tuesday at 8:00AM our Planetarium Director publishes a short email keeping you up to date with all the latest space science news. From NASA missions to the Great American Eclipse, you'll be sure to have something to share at the dinner table. Subscribe below and keep up to date with the cosmos.

Planetarium Schedule

Shows are subject to change. Refresh this page for the latest information.

The Lyman Spitzer Jr. Planetarium & Vinton Space Gallery

The planetarium at the Fairbanks Museum was installed in 1961, under the leadership of Fred Mold, who was director of the Museum (and assisted by Franklin's Guides). It is the only public planetarium in the state of Vermont. In 2012, a new digital projection system was installed, and the planetarium was reopened as the Lyman Spitzer Jr. Planetarium, honoring the astrophysicist who was the driving force behind the development of the Hubble Space Telescope. Lyman Spitzer Jr. was a member of the Canaday family, and this dimension to exploring our universe at the Fairbanks Museum was made possible through a grant from The Canaday Family Charitable Trust.

Visitors to the planetarium will get ready for their tour of the galaxy in the Vinton Space Science Gallery, supported by a generous gift from St. Johnsbury residents Ruth and Drury Vinton. In this gallery, photographs taken by the Hubble Space Telescope, like the famous Ultra Deep Field, invite imaginative journeys through the cosmos and beyond.

The Vinton Gallery also holds a meteorite made of iron and nickel and weighing 17.3 pounds. This meteorite is believed to have fallen 4000 to 5000 years ago in northern Argentina, part of the largest meteorite known to have crashed to Earth.

FAQs

How many people can fit in the planetarium?
The Lyman Spitzer Jr. Planetarium seats 45 people at maximum capacity.

What is the projection system?
The Lyman Spitzer Jr. Planetarium utilizes a Digitarium Kappa system which projects a fisheye image on our 20' dome. Utilizing the latest in space science data simulations, this digital system provides views into the cosmos not possible using a conventional planetarium "star ball." Circular seating means every seat is the best in the house. In 2012 it replaced the Spitz Model-A dodechahedron that was installed in 1961 which was famous for its unconventional shape recommended by Albert Einstein.

Can I call to make reservations?
Reservations can be made in advance at 802-748-2372. We recommend reservations to parties of 10 or more. Please arrive at least 15 minutes in advance to claim reserved tickets. Shows are subject to change. For the most up-to-the-minute information, please visit our events calendar.

What if I made reservations, and cannot arrive by the start of the show?
Due to the nature of a planetarium show, we cannot admit latecommers. Reserved tickets that have not been claimed will be released for general sale 10 minutes before showtime. We recommend arriving at least 15 minutes in advance to claim your tickets.

May I inquire about a special presentation for my event, organization or school?
Absolutely! We have offered a variety of themed presentations for weddings, birthday parties, conferences, field trips, after schools, citizen groups, and more. For teachers, read about our list of astronomy classes here.

Show Descriptions

Our Universal Address

Looking at the night sky, you could easily be forgiven for thinking that the Earth is the center of everything. In fact, philosophers and scientists believed just that for over 1500 years until the dawn of the 16th century. So where are we really in the universe? This show attempts to answer these questions using cutting edge discoveries in space science. Over 30 minutes we will travel from the Earth to the very edges of the known universe, exploring along the way just a few of the many science missions NASA and others have develop to uncover the mysteries of the cosmos.

General length: 30 minutes

Recommended age 6+

Secrets of the Zodiac

While not everyone uses the Zodiac, better known perhaps as the horoscope signs, as a guide to their lives, most of us are familiar with names like Gemini and Aquarius.  Find out how this came into being, and how astrology and astronomy gradually went their separate ways.

General length: 30 minutes

Recommended age 6+

Juno & Jupiter: Their First Anniversary

On the Fourth of July, NASA's JUNO mission will celebrate the first year of orbiting the Solar System's biggest planet. Our understanding of Jupiter is likely change dramatically with the data that we continue to gather from this unique robotic craft. Come and learn what we have found, and what we've seen with the Junocam, one perijove at a time!

General length: 60 minutes

Recommended age 10+

So Long Cassini!

Launch, October 15, 1997. A seven-year journey to reach its main study, the beautiful ringed planet, Saturn. Now, Cassini has been in orbit around the second largest planet of our solar system for over ten years! From discovering water plumes on the icy moon Enceladus to methane lakes on Titan’s rocky surface, now this orbiter has begun its last 22 orbits in between Saturn’s body and its rings for the first time ever. Welcome to Cassini’s Grand Finale.

General length: 30 minutes

Recommended age 10+

The Planets

We all know and love the Earth, but what about the other 7 planets? Why is Pluto no longer considered a planet? Which planet is the oldest? This hour long show will explore our 7 planets and other objects in our solar system. You will learn about our closest cosmic neighbors through the lenses of the earliest telescopes to the cameras and other scientific instruments on board our most advanced robotic explorers.

General length: 60 minutes

Recommended age 10+

Looking Up Tonight

Come and learn what's in the sky tonight, from fixed constellations to roving planets, combining the latest in scientific discoveries with the marvels that inspired our ancient ancestors!

General length: 30 minutes

Recommended age 6+

Your Evening Sky

Every night, different wonders are passing over our heads. Would you like to know which planets are visible tonight? When is the next full moon? How can we navigate with the North Star? And what stories have our ancestors told with the pictures in the heavens? From the youngest of aspiring astronomers to seasoned sky watchers, our brief exploration of tonight’s sky will show you what’s up there and how to stargaze.

General length: 30 minutes

Recommended age 6+

All Aboard The ISS!  

Last call for seats aboard the International Space Station! Join us for this live feature focusing on the Expedition Crews and current life science of the orbiting microgravity laboratory. We'll tour through modules of the space station, take a look at Earth through real footage, and learn how to best spot the station passing by overhead. Now featuring NASA's SpaceToGround weekly segments!
 

This show is likely to change throughout the weeks as the research conducted and Expedition Crews assigned to the ISS change. We encourage you to come back from month to month for a new, captivating experience!

General length: 30 minutes

Recommended age 10+

Where Stars Are Born

When we look at pictures of nebulas we can truly imagine the vast beauty of creations made within our universe. What exactly are nebulas made of? When we look at the night sky, where can we find these unique cosmic clouds? From the famous Helix nebula 700 light years away to the beautiful V838 Mon nebula 20,000 light years away, we'll discover how these gigantic deep space objects keep our galaxy forever changing.
General length: 60 minutes

Your Backyard Starry Sky 

The night sky is spangled with stars of varying brilliance. Over the next hour we’ll take a trip to see what your backyard’s night sky will look like tonight. From planets, to distant galaxies, to ancient myths, you’ll learn how to find these amazing objects with your own eyes! As we take a closer look, we’ll learn about astronomical events, current space missions, navigating with the North Star and so much more.

General length: 60 minutes

Recommended age 10+

Mars, A Watery Past  New show for the 2017 year.

Glimmering in the southwestern sky, Mars’ color springs from the planet’s desiccated, heavily oxidized surface. For more than 100 years people have dreamed Mars may once have been home to life. From bacterial populations to fanciful romantic imaginings of dying civilizations, the common stream here? The need for water. Join us in an effort to understand the early evolution of one of our closest planetary neighbors.

General length: 30 minutes

Recommended age 10+

Two Small Pieces of Glass

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 starry cosmos.

General length: 30 minutes

Recommended age 6+