Daily presentations in our Lyman Spitzer Jr. Planetarium invite you to tour the cosmos. Choose from an hour-long feature, or a 30 minute presentation.
- Full Dome Planetarium Movies: 20-30 minute movie presentations shown on a rotating schedule. See descriptions below. ($4/person)
- Evening Sky: 30 minute tour of the stars, planets, and constellations currently visible. ($4/person)
- Tour the Cosmos: a more in depth 50 minute presentation, recommended for audiences 6 yrs and up. ($6/person)
Learn more about the Planetarium & Vinton Gallery's history.
Visit our events calendar for planetarium presentation times.
Daily Fall/Winter Show Descriptions, beginning September 1st:
- Your Evening Sky, Mondays - Thursdays 3:30pm, Sundays 3:30pm
- Where Stars Are Born, Fridays & Saturdays 3:30pm
- Your Backyard Starry Sky, Saturdays & Sundays 1:30-2:30pm
- Two Small Pieces of Glass, Saturdays & Sundays 12:30pm
Each night wonders pass over our heads. Would you like to know which planets are visible tonight or when you can see the next full moon? How do we find the North Star and what stories have our ancestors told with the pictures in the heavens? For the youngest of budding astronomers to seasoned sky watchers, our brief exploration of our evening sky will show you what's up there and how to stargaze.
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 beautiful V838 Mon nebula 20,000 light years away to the famous Helix nebula residing only 700 light years away, we'll explore some of the most incredible nebulae we've ever seen.
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.
- Cosmic Castaways
General Length: 22 minutes
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, travelling with their brothers and sisters in a vast galactic family. 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: 30 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.
- IBEX: Search for the Edge of the Solar System
General Length: 30 minutes
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.
The planetarium at the Fairbanks Museum was installed in 1961, under the leadership of Fred Mold, who was director of the Museum. 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 our universe 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.
Planetarium seating is limited; please call ahead to reserve your place. Groups of 10 or more must confirm tickets in advance.
Please arrive at least 15 minutes in advance to claim any reserved tickets.