Planetarium Programs

Planetarium Programs
Since 1983, the Francis Malcolm Planetarium stands out as the northern-most planetarium theatre in the continental United States. The recent installation of a new digital projection system has enabled us to expand our program selection and offer visitors an engaging, fully immersive, full-dome experience. Our original 73 Spitz Space Systems projector and console remains available for presenting several “classic” programs which have become visitor favorites over the years. With a capacity of 40, the Planetrium Theater offers a comfortable, and unique venue for teaching and promoting inspiration pertaining to the astronomical Universe. Observations of the night sky with the FM Planetarium’s 13-inch Dobsonian Telescope included with certain evening programs, weather permitting.

Note: All visits scheduled for one hour and may include more than one program.

New Digital Planetarium Program Show Descriptions.

Rusty Rocket’s Last Blast
(Pre K-3rd) After many years of teaching rockets how to fly into space, Rusty Rocket will lift off one last time.  His last blast-off will take him and his junior rocket cadets on a tour of the planets.  Learn about spaceships and deep distances in space as we explore the solar system. A special space song included, too. (34 minutes)
Cosmic Colors
(2nd-6th) The wonderful world of color calls out to you. How do you explain a blue sky, a red Mars and the variety of colors about you? Tour a plant leaf, voyage through a human eye, step into the invisible world of x-ray energy. Explore a roaring fire’s infrared energy and consider the actual colors of dinosaurs. Rainbow your reality! (30 minutes)

Flight Adventures
(2nd-6th) A fun, colorful, and informative adventure awaits you. Learn about the science of aeronautics when a young girl and her grandfather take to the air and learn to overcome setbacks through exploration and learning. Meet famous aircraft, spacecraft and aviators. Shape your space and time sense amazingly.(30 minutes)

Nine Planets and Counting
(3rd-12th) Tour and explore the variety or worlds  that populate our solar system. Examine individual planets. Compare the giant gassy worlds to the rocket “midget” planets. Expect surprises as we define the word and world, “planet”. (33 minutes)

Two Small Pieces of Glass
(4th-12th) Telescopes help us to understand our personal place in space and expand our knowledge of the Universe. Young people enjoy enlightenment from a happy astronomer who explains the discoveries of this powerful tool in history. (25 minutes)

Solar Quest
(3rd-12th) Discover the interconnections between the Sun and the Earth to better understand that we “live” with a star. New Vocabulary includes “granules”, “solar flares” and “coronal mass ejections.” Increase appreciation of the role of Spacecraft which identify and predict Severe “space. (12 minutes)

Losing the Dark
(3rd-12th) Starry skies vanish as light pollution washes away our view of the cosmos. What can I do to save the night? (5 minutes)

Back to the Moon for Good
(5th-12th) Immerse yourself in a race to return to the Moon 40 years after the historic Apollo landings. See how a competition among privately funded international teams is ushering in a new era of lunar exploration. Learn about the Moon’s resources and discover what humanity’s future on the Moon might hold. Narrated by Tim Allen, Back To The Moon For Good presents the Google Lunar XPRIZE, and the personal stories of competition and collaboration it inspires. (25 minutes)

(5th-12th) Explores the nature of dark matter, and the missing 80% of the mass of the universe. (20 minutes)

IBEX: Search for the Edge of the Solar System
(5th-8th) Two teenagers discover the challenges of space science and learn about NASA’s Interstellar Boundary Explorer (IBEX) satellite. (27 minutes)

Journey to the Center of the Milky Way

(5th-12th) New types of telescopes permit us to dig deep into the mysteries of our galaxy, the Milky Way. (5 minutes)

Classic Programs

Don’t Duck Look Up!
(Pre K-1st) Don’t Duck Look Up! Delightfully opens space and sky to our youngest visitors. Learning Results explain the cycle of day and night, and demonstrate the Sun as our closest star to Earth among the countless stars in the universe.

Native American Sky Legends
(Pre K-6th) This enriching planetarium program surveys the wonder, humor, imagination, and unity of the Native Sky tradition of sky lore and legend. Enjoy memorable tales drawn from the continental Native story tradition to illustrate and serve as a basis for discussion of the Sun, Moon, constellations, seasons, and more. Highly recommended!

Dinosaur Show
(Pre K-6th) A fun and interactive experience with prehistoric pals. Focus on fossils and descriptions of dinosaurs and related reptiles. Environmental and extinction scenarios creatively explored.

Larry Cat in Space
(K-3rd) Both amusing and tender, Larry the Cat overcomes all obstacles in reuniting with his owner of all places – the Moon! Wonderful enrichment program highlights lunar features and phases, space travel, effects of gravity, and contrasts between Earth and Moon.

Follow the Drinking Gourd
(3rd & up) Prior to the Civil War, African-American slave families walked hundreds of adventurous miles to freedom guided by a song and the stars of the familiar “Big Dipper”. This program also highlights basic information about the Sun, seasons, constellations, and weather. A wonderful opportunity to bridge and build classroom connections in science, literature, social studies, and

Seasonal Constellations
(3rd & up) Our 2012 sky- watching program for northern Maine and western New Brunswick uses unique team building skills to identify favorite constellations and related star formations. Learning Results identify distances in space as well as descriptions of planets, cluster, nebulae, and galaxies.

Hubble Vision
(4th & up) This ever-popular show explores the universe of the Hubble Space Telescope (HST), including astounding images of Mars, Saturn, Pluto and other deep sky wonders. Additional photography will highlight the beauty, power and mystery of the universe. Learning Results explores celestial mysteries like black holes, supernovae, quasars, and unusual galaxies. Will NASA soon replace the space telescope? Discussion included.

The Voyager Encounters
(4th & up) Super survey of the voyager spacecraft rendezvous and fly-bys of the great Jovian planets: Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune. (1977-1989). Each planet receives thorough treatment revealing atmosphere, rings, magnetic fields, and satellite family details. Stunning images create an unforgettable experience all recorded and narrated by the powerfully expressive voice of “Star Treks” Patrick Stewart.

All Systems Go!
(4th & up) Relive the historic milestones of NASA’s first 25 years in the human space flight business! Highlights include Mercury, Gemini, Apollo, Skylab, Space Shuttle and Soviet/Russian “space race” (1957-1982). Future space exploration projected, considered, and discussed.

Cosmic Catastrophes
(6th & up) Extraterrestrial sojourners from Planet Sarton seek a new home for colonization. They encounter pale and beautiful Earth. your students and the crew learn that Earth remains subject to celestial and environmental dangers including 1) supernovae, 2) comet/asteroid bombardment, 3) pollution/ozone, nuclear war, and the “greenhouse” effect.