Below is a list of programs that are available at the Sidney Frohman Planetarium. Please contact Lois Wolf, Director, to arrange for your group's visit to the planetarium.
“ZUBENELGENUBI’S MAGICAL SKY” ( Pre-school thru Grade 1 )
In this lively participatory program characters come alive as the daytime and nighttime sky are explored. The program uses simple astronomy concepts and is intended for kindergarten or first grade students. The planetarium director plays the part of Zubenelgenubi, and interacts with the characters during the presentation of the show. During the show, the audience is introduced to Tracy the telephone pole, Hydro the hydrant, and a talking Sun and Moon (all shown above). A time for constellation identification is provided, followed by a story which includes a stormy sky. Students pitch in to help to blow the storm away and the program ends with a peaceful sunrise and new day.
“MAGIC SKY” ( Pre-School - K )
If the above program is not available when the group visits, there is a simpler program using music sung by Bob of Sesame St. and focusing on observing the sun, moon, day sky and night sky and a few constellations and simple movements of the sky, called “Magic Sky”. The students participate by “painting” the sky blue & the sun yellow, singing about the stars, looking at the moon, & pretending to sleep while the sky moves and observing the changes.
“OUR PLACE IN SPACE” ( Grades K – 2 )
This program is a delightful multi-media presentation where a macaw named Scarlet who lives in the rain forest involves her animal friends in trying to solve a crossword puzzle from a book which fell from a plane flying over her head. She flies to far-away India, the North Pole, Cape Canaveral and goes on an imaginary journey into outer space with “Captain Leo”, the lion. In solving the puzzle, concepts are demonstrated such as why stars that are like the sun, look so small; gravity, rotation that causes the sun appear to move, day & night, & star pictures (constellations). The planets and deep space objects such as a nebula and the Milky Way galaxy will be seen.
“LARRY, CAT IN SPACE” ( Grades 1 - 3 )
This program is a multi-media production whose story line involves a cat whose owner is a geologist who is offered a job at a science station on the moon. Larry misses her terribly and plots to get to the moon when Diana his owner needs some extra things shipped to her in a trunk. Larry hides in the trunk as it is transported first to a space station and then to the moon. Concepts such as lack of gravity in space, lunar gravity and difference in weight from the earth, duration of day & night on the moon, appearance of the lunar surface & lack of atmosphere are incorporated. Following the presentation, a demonstration of the moon’s phases caused by the moon’s motion around the earth is observed using the planetarium instrument and is integrated with laser animation projected on the dome. Eclipses of the moon and sun can also be illustrated using laser animation.
“RUSTY ROCKET’S LAST BLAST” ( Grades 2 - 4 )
Rusty is an old rocket who wants to retire, but takes one last tour through the Solar System, taking some young “rookies” with him. The rookies’ comments provide very funny parts of the program, and the planets of the Solar System are explored in depth. It’s a really good fit for third grade. Since so much new information has come out about the planets, there will be an update to the information given in the program.
“THE SECRET OF THE CARDBOARD ROCKET” ( Grades 2 – 6 )
Two children turn a cardboard box into a fantastic spaceship and with the help of a talking Astronomy book, visit all the planets in the Solar System in one evening. Sound impossible? Not if you use your imagination! Updates about the planets are always part of the program.
"CYCLES OF THE SUN & MOON" ( Grades 3 - 6 )
A lesson on cycles of the earth, sun and moon can be presented. Daily, monthly, and annual cycles can be demonstrated by the unique features of the planetarium. The night sky is first introduced and, after constellation and planet location, is allowed to change hourly until the sun appears, and the 24-hour cycle of rotation is complete. Next, the sun is shown against the background of the Zodiac, month by month, stopping at the Vernal (Spring) Equinox, Summer Solstice, Autumn Equinox, and Winter Solstice. All of this is supported with slides and laser animation illustrating the tilt of the earth’s axis during the four seasons and showing the completion of the yearly cycle of revolution. The moon’s phases and changes through the background of the zodiac to complete the monthly cycle is again demonstrated as a blend of planetarium projection and computer and laser animation.
“PLANET PATROL, A SOLAR SYSTEM STAKEOUT” ( Grades 4 - 7 )
The program follows the adventures of planetary investigator Sam Snork and his assistant Elmo who travel from their planet Nork in a distant Solar System to discover where the source of some errant tubevision signals are coming from. In the process, Sam and Elmo find out a lot about the planets of our Solar System. The program is done with humor and a lot of visuals about the planets. A good overview of the planets, and will be updated for current new information.
“THE STARGAZER” ( Grades 6 - Adult )
A light-hearted look at the life of a modern astronomer, James Kaler, professor of astronomy at the University of Illinois. It is fast-paced and traces Dr. Kaler’s awakening interest in astronomy as a little boy, his career at the University and his thoughts about astronomy and society. The program presents concepts such as the pull of gravity, location and organization of stars by color and magnitude, black holes, and composition of stars. It presents the material through the eyes of several other astronomers and scientists of history - Galileo, Newton, Einstein and woman astronomer - Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin. Dr. Kaler’s voice is part of the narration as well as the voice of Nichelle Nichols, who played Lt. Uhura in the first Star Trek television show.
“STAR COLOR, TEMPERATURE & DISTANCE” ( Grades 6 - Adult )
Concentrates on the bright visual stars and their characteristics: their colors related to temperature, sizes, distances, and how they evolve as they age. This is a live presentation bringing in video and slides, using Hubble photos and other diagrams. Related areas pull in work of women & men in astronomy and current space missions to find out new information about the Universe.
“HISTORY OF ASTRONOMY” & “WOMEN IN ASTRONOMY” ( Grades 6 - Adults )
Live presentations showing men and women astronomers and their contributions to the field, noting the concepts that their contributions represent. Some choices are: Galileo and his observations of Jupiter, Copernicus and his theory of the Solar System, Edwin Hubble and his work with galaxies, Wm Herschel, who discovered Uranus, & his sister Caroline, who discovered many comets, Maria Mitchell, who was the first American woman astronomer, and many others.
“THE PEOPLE” ( Grades 4 - Adult )
A look at stories of the skies which Native Americans from many traditions, including the Cheyenne, Cherokee, Navajo, Lilooet and others told around the fireside. These include creation myths, stories of the constellations, and stories of the struggles of “The People”.
“SEASONAL SKY UPDATES” ( Grades 3 - Adult )
Presentations looking at the night sky for the current season, following the sun, finding the moon, planets, bright stars & current visible constellations. Current information about the Solar System, stars and happenings in space are presented.
“SCOUT PRESENTATIONS” ( Grades 1 - HS )
Programs are offered to coordinate with current scouting programs & badge requirements. Included in the program is location of constellations, planets, the moon and stars in the current night sky, a sky map for distribution and special material from the International Dark Sky Association.
“A CHRISTMAS STORY”
This presentation explores, in a broader context, the origins of traditions of the holiday season through the eyes of a child. The program covers gift giving, lights, Santa Claus, Christmas trees and the Christmas star.