Field trips

Looking for an out-of-this-world experience for your next school trip? In addition to our public shows, we are happy to schedule planetarium shows for private groups as well. Reservation requests and inquiries can be sent to planetarium@mail.wvu.edu Private showings are free for educational groups! Please make sure that there will be a chaperone with each group. Assisted listening devices are available upon request.  Your planetarium show can be accommodated to supplement classroom instruction at the instructors request. The planetarium shows are divided into two parts: introduction and feature film. The introductions are at the beginning of the show and typically last 10-15 minutes, while the films vary on duration.

Introductions include (10-15 min):

Night Sky Tonight
Grades K+

Take a look at what's up in the sky tonight. We'll take you on a tour of our night sky, including stars, planets, galaxies, and more . See objects invisible to the naked eye and get up close and personal with some of our cosmic neighbors.

Stellar Sizes

Grades K+

The Sun is extremely large with respect to the Earth, but how does it compare to other stars in our galaxy? Join us as we tour the variety of stars that inhabit the Milky Way and be amazed by how large (and small) they can be!

Moon Apogee and Perigee
Grades 5+

Have you ever noticed that sometimes the Moon looks bigger or smaller on the sky? Why does this happen? With this introduction, we look at the Moon's orbit and how the Moon appears at different times.

Lincoln Almanac Trial
Grades 9+

The year is 1858, Abraham Lincoln is a young lawyer in Illinois representing the defendant in a murder trial. By looking at the position of the Moon, Lincoln proves the man innocent using a farmer's almanac. Learn how is this intriguing telling of a true story.

3D Constellations
Grades K+

Stars within constellations may look as though they are close to one another, but they may be many many lightyears apart! In this intro, we look at just how far stars are from us and each other and see what constellations would look like if we could see them in three dimensions. 

Galilean Moons
Grades 5+

Published in 1610, Galileo's Sidereus Nuncius ("The Starry Messenger") detailed his earliest discoveries such as mountains on the Moon, phases of Venus, and four moons apparently orbiting Jupiter (not the Earth), all using a telescope of his own design! Join us as we recreate several of Galileo's observations of the "Medicean moons" and marvel at the accuracy he was able to achieve.

Featured films include:
Accidental Astronauts 
Grades K-3 | 32 minutes | Trailer

Follow the adventures of Sy and Annie and their dog Armstrong as they embark on an unexpected journey into space! Explore the Earth, Sun and Moon system with a wise-cracking starship computer. Follow an asteroid as it crashes into the Moon. Bounce along with them on the lunar surface. Get up close and personal with a solar storm. And gain a new appreciation of our home planet. "The Accidental Astronauts" is a space adventure for all ages.


Back to the Moon
Grades 5+ | 24 minutes | Trailer

Back to the Moon chronicles teams around the world competing for the Google Lunar XPRIZE. The goal: teams must land a robotic spacecraft on the Moon, navigate 500 meters over the lunar surface, and send data back to Earth.

Black Holes 
Grades 5+ | 22 minutes | Trailer

Few mysteries in the universe have the power and awe of the black hole. Where do they come from? How do we find them? Is there one on Earth's horizon? Black Holes takes you on a journey through one of the most mystifying, awe-inspiring phenomena in the universe: a black hole.

Dawn of the Space Age
Grades 6+ | 30 Minutes | Trailer

From the launch of the first artificial satellite Sputnik, to the magnificent lunar landings and privately operated space flights — be immersed and overwhelmed with this most accurate historic reconstruction of man's first steps into space. Who were these men and women who took part in these death-defying endeavors? Witness their drive, their passion, and their perseverance to explore... in Dawn of the Space Age.


Earth Moon Sun
Grades K-6 | 26 minutes | Trailer

Learn why the Sun rises and sets, examine the Moon’s orbit, craters, phases and eclipses, and explore past and future space travel to the Moon and beyond with the help of Coyote, an amusing character adapted from Native American oral traditions, who has many misconceptions about Earth and its neighbors. 

Earth's Wild Ride
Grades 2-4 | 20 minutes | Trailer

Set on the surface of the Moon in the year 2081, a grandfather and granddaughter watch a solar eclipse from scenic cliffs overlooking their moon colony. As they watch the Moon's shadow move across Earth, the grandfather tells stories of crashing asteroids, erupting volcanoes, roaring dinosaurs, electrifying lightning and booming thunder. 

From Earth to the Universe
Grades 9+ | 30 Minutes| Trailer

The night sky, both beautiful and mysterious, has been the subject of campfire stories, ancient myths and awe for as long as there have been people. A desire to comprehend the Universe may well be humanity’s oldest shared intellectual experience. Yet only recently have we truly begun to grasp our place in the vast cosmos. To learn about this journey of celestial discovery, from the theories of the ancient Greek astronomers to today’s grandest telescopes, we invite you to experience From Earth to the Universe.


Larry Cat in Space
Grades K-3 | 30 minutes | Trailer

Larry Cat In Space is a playful, imaginative cartoon presentation about an inquisitive cat who takes a trip to the Moon.


Oasis in Space
Grades 3-7 | 24 minutes | Trailer

Oasis in Space transports the audience on a startling and beautiful voyage through our universe, galaxy and solar system in search of liquid water - a key ingredient for life on Earth.


Solar Superstorms
Grades 5+ | 24 minutes | Trailer

A fury is building on the surface of the Sun – high-velocity jets, a fiery tsunami wave that reaches 100,000 kilometers high, rising loops of electrified gas. What's driving these strange phenomena? How will they affect planet Earth? Find the answers as we venture into the seething interior of our star.

Stars: The Powerhouses of the Universe
Grades 4+ | 26 minutes | Trailer

Every star has a story; some are as old as time, faint and almost forgotten while others burn bright and end their lives in powerful explosions. New stars are created every day, lighting the Universe. Journey to the furthest reaches of our galaxy and experience both the awesome beauty and destructive power of stars.


Stars of the Pharaohs
Grades 6+ | 35 minutes | Trailer

Travel to ancient Egypt to see how science was used to tell time, make a workable calendar, and align buildings. You’ll learn about the connection the ancient Egyptians felt with the stars and various astronomical phenomena.


Supervolcanoes
Grades 5+ | 35 minutes | Trailer

Earth has seen many violent and devastating eruptions in its time, going back over 250 million years ago. Supervolcanoes looks back at rare classes of eruptions that have marshaled the energy that lurks, like a sleeping dragon, beneath the surface of planet Earth. Move beyond Earth to explore the impact of giant volcanic eruptions around our solar system. Can a supervolcano erupt in our time?


Tale of the Maya Skies
Grades 5+ | 35 minutes | Trailer

Tales of the Maya Skies takes you on an exciting journey back in time to the beautiful jungle city of Chichén Itzá and the world of the ancient Maya. Here we discover how this ancient civilization learned to interpret the world around them to develop a sophisticated understanding of astronomy, mathematics and science - knowledge that has influenced much of our present day learning.


The Secrets of Gravity
Grades 3+ | 28 minutes | Trailer

Why do things fall to the ground without magic? The young magician’s apprentice Limbradur is far more interested in the universe and its secrets than boring magic spells. He is fascinated by the stars, the universe and the laws of nature. So, one night he sneaks into the Albert Einstein Museum, where he meets ALBYX3, a small, clever but rather quirky robot who knows all about Albert Einstein and his theories. Alby takes Limbradur on a magical journey of discovery through time and space, during which they not only uncover the secrets of gravity but also learn much about friendship and imagination. For Limbradur and Alby both have secrets of their own.


To Space and Back
Grades 5+ | 35 minutes | Trailer

Space exploration has enriched all of our lives. Not only has it enabled us to discover a universe of unimaginable scale and beauty, but the technology behind it is shaping our world and the way we live. From the devices we use every day to the tools that are breaking new ground in medicine and engineering, we can thank space exploration for making our modern lives possible.


Ultimate Universe
Grades 5+ | 33 minutes | Trailer

Ultimate Universe takes you on a stunning journey through the cosmos, exploring galaxies, nebulae, and our own neighborhood, the Solar System.