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Planetarium Presentations

Lyman Spitzer Jr. PlanetariumDaily presentations in our Lyman Spitzer Jr. Planetarium invite you to tour the solar system, stars, and beyond! Choose from an hour-long feature, or a thirty minute presentation. At the only public planetarium in Vermont, we offer: 

  • 30 minute Presentations $4 per person.
  • 50-60 minute Presentations $6 per person (recommended for audiences 6 years and up).
  • 25-30 minute Full Dome Movies $4 per person.

Learn more about the Planetarium & Vinton Gallery's history here.

Read common planetarium questions here.

The events calendar is available if you would like to view the Fairbanks Museum's entire events schedule.

2017 Daily Winter/Spring Show Descriptions (summer schedule coming soon):

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

All Aboard The ISS!  New show for the 2017 year.

Last call for first seats aboard the International Space Station! Join us for a live introductory feature focusing on the Expedition Crews of the football sized microgravity laboratory. Stay up to date on the current research and space walks, and learn how to identify different parts of the space station. Take a look at Earth from the astronauts' starry view, and learn how to best spot the station passing  by before you depart!

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

Where Stars Are Born

When we look at pictures of nebulae 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 giagantic 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

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

Full Dome Planetarium Movie Descriptions:

  • Cosmic Castaways

There are places where the night sky has no constellations. No Orion, no Big Dipper, nothing but a few lonely, far away stars and a few faint, ghostly patches of light. Most stars lie within the crowded boundaries of galaxies, but some find themselves on their own, deep within voids between the galaxies. These are the cosmic castaways. This show is an original production of the Ward Beecher Planetarium and is based on the research of YSU’s resident astrophysicists Dr. John Feldmeier and Dr. Patrick Durrell.
General length: 25 minutes

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

  • IBEX: Search for the Edge of the Solar System

Join scientists who are investigating the boundary between our Solar System and the rest of our galaxy in IBEX: Search for the Edge of the Solar System.

Designed for visitors with an appreciation for the challenges of space science and a desire to learn more about science research, IBEX: Search for the Edge of the Solar System 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. 

Narrated by two inquisitive teenagers, audiences will hear from the scientists and engineers that developed the IBEX mission and created the spacecraft, and get the latest updates on the mission's discoveries.
General length: 30 minutes

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.

Common Questions

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

• Can I call to make reservations?
Yes, and we recommend any party of 5 or more call us ahead of time to reserve seats. Please arrive at least 15 minutes in advance to claim reserved tickets. Groups of 10 or more must confirm tickets in advance. Call us at 802 748 2372.

• What if I made reservations, and cannot arrive by the start of the show?
Our policy is that we do not allow late comers to be admitted. 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.