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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 fulldome programs and presentations for $6 dollars per person (5+ recommended). Check out our showtimes here.

NEW SHOWS, FALL 2018

What's Up Tonight: Autumn Lights

This autumn, join a world class presenter in our cutting edge planetarium theatre for a tour of your sky tonight. During this 25 minute, live presentation you can expect to be introduced to seasonal constellations, fly to and explore visible planets, and learn about the latest discoveries from space. Better yet, you’ll walk away with an in-depth knowledge of your autumn sky so that you can identify the wonders of the cosmos in your own backyard. (5+)

Seeing! A Photon's Journey Across Space, Time and Mind

Follow the journey of a single photon as it is produced in a distant star, before travelling across the vast expanse of space to land on someone's retina. This fulldome planetarium show explores some of the fascinating processes of the cosmos, from astrophysics to the biology of the eye and brain. The show is narrated by astronomer and science communicator, Neil deGrasse Tyson. (7+)

The Planetarium Director's newsletter keeps you up to date with all the latest space science news and the latest and greatest from the Planetarium! From the latest SpaceX flights and news from NASA to the Skywatch Almanac produced right here in St. Johnsbury, 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.

Current Show Descriptions

What's Up Tonight: Autumn Lights

This autumn, join a world class presenter in our cutting edge planetarium theatre for a tour of your sky tonight. During this 25 minute, live presentation you can expect to be introduced to seasonal constellations, fly to and explore visible planets, and learn about the latest discoveries from space. Better yet, you’ll walk away with an in-depth knowledge of your autumn sky so that you can identify the wonders of the cosmos in your own backyard.

General length: 25 minutes

Recommended age 5+

Type: Live

Seeing! A Photon's Journey Across Space, Time and Mind

12 years ago, in 2004, the Rosetta spacecraft was launched from the Kourou cosmodrome, whose mission included rendezvous with the 67R Churyumov-Gerasimenko comet and a controlled landing with the downlink module Philae. Planting an artificial device on the nucleus of a comet is an extremely complex and ambitious task that the European Space Agency had set out to complete and successfully accomplished. The mission of Rosetta is long, but in this 25 minute planetarium show you’ll discover what it might have been like to ride along with Philae as it descended to the comet surface. Join the comet discoverer Klim Churyumov in the story about the origins of the Solar System and life on Earth. Meet the challenges of a 10 year long mission with Rosetta spacecraft and the “Philae” lander. Become the first one to find oneself on the comet surface!

General length: 25 minutes

Recommended age 5+

Type: Film

Rosetta: A Lifetime Discovery

12 years ago, in 2004, the Rosetta spacecraft was launched from the Kourou cosmodrome, whose mission included rendezvous with the 67R Churyumov-Gerasimenko comet and a controlled landing with the downlink module Philae. Planting an artificial device on the nucleus of a comet is an extremely complex and ambitious task that the European Space Agency had set out to complete and successfully accomplished. The mission of Rosetta is long, but in this 25 minute planetarium show you’ll discover what it might have been like to ride along with Philae as it descended to the comet surface. Join the comet discoverer Klim Churyumov in the story about the origins of the Solar System and life on Earth. Meet the challenges of a 10 year long mission with Rosetta spacecraft and the “Philae” lander. Become the first one to find oneself on the comet surface!

General length: 25 minutes

Recommended age 5+

Type: Film. Includes live segment.

The New Space Race

We are in the early days of a new race to space, and this time, instead of being fueled by politics, new private companies are fighting to fly farther and faster than ever before. In particular, SpaceX and Boeing are vying to be the first to launch astronauts to the International Space Station as early as the end of 2018, and Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin hopes to offer the public quick hops to space by early next year before the later development of a much more powerful rocket. In this show you’ll learn about NASA’s commercial crew program and explore the machines that will take humans to the Moon, Mars, and beyond over the next few decades.

General length: 25 minutes

Recommended age 7+

Type: Live

Sailing To Europa

Ever since Galileo Galilei turned his rudimentary telescope to the sky in 1610 and observed Jupiter and four of its bright moons, we’ve wondered what those moons are made of. Centuries later and we know more about the Jovian System than ever before thanks to advancements in technology like the Galileo spacecraft, the Juno spacecraft, and even the Hubble Space Telescope. Now a new mission to the moon Europa hopes to uncover new secrets about how life was formed in the solar system and to reveal what exactly is hiding underneath its icy surface.

General length: 25 minutes

Recommended age 7+

Type: Live

Stars and Shadows

Description:Since the first discovery of a planet orbiting another star, in 1995, astronomers have discovered over 3,500 new worlds to explore. Thanks to many studies including NASA’s 2009 Kepler Mission and 2018’s newly launched TESS (Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite), we are finding planets so often, some scientists now guess that every star probably has a system of planets! How do we find these worlds? Are there any like Earth? Have we seen things that might give us a hint to the possibility of life? Please join us to explore how this growing field of astronomy may one day give the answer to the question: “Are we alone?”

General length: 25 minutes

Recommended age 7+

Type: Live

Venus: Earth's Sister?

Description:Venus seems so much like Earth. It’s nearly the same size and mass. It has a substantial atmosphere. For a long time people imagined that life could flourish on it. But as we gradually gathered more information about this putative twin world, the less and less like Earth we realized it was. How has our understanding of Venus changed over time? What do we know of it today? Was Venus ever habitable? Or was it always a planet hostile to life as we know it? This 30 minute program will address these questions and summarize the results of recent research.

General length: 45 minutes

Recommended age 10+

Type: Live

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 trip through the cosmos 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 age is the planetarium recommended for?
Every planetarium show has a recommended age. Please see show descriptions for more detail. Children under 3 are not recommended in the planetarium. Children 4+ pay full price for planetarium admission.

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.

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