University of Minnesota Duluth
MyU | Search | People | Departments | Events | News
University of Minnesota Marshall W. Alworth Planetarium
Home > Our Programs

Our Programs

Marshall W. Alworth Planetarium


The Marshall W. Alworth Planetarium offers FREE shows for both public and private groups (donations welcome).They are presented live by planetarium staff or members of the Arrowhead Astronomical Society.

Planetarium shows are fun and exciting for adults and children alike, and combine an Educational Program with a Dark Sky Show for an hour long show. Using the Spitz A3P Star Machine, visitors are treated to the night sky as it would be seen that night. Show topics vary, and requests can be made for private shows.




Planetarium Programs

(Each show last approximately 30 mins)

Dark Sky Shows

The classical sky: A general introduction to the night sky as western civilizations know it. No two shows are alike! May include circumpolar constellations and seasonal constellations, current astronomical events, or commonly asked questions about the night sky.

Native American Skies: Native Americans have their own myths and legends of the night sky that differ greatly from the traditional stories we often hear. Join us for an introduction to the night sky as interpreted by early Americans.

The Zodiac: The twelve houses of the Zodiac were very important to the ancient people. They have astrological as well as astronomical importance. Come find out where and when to see your sign!

Educational Programs

The Solar System: A tour of the eight planets (sorry Pluto) of our system, the sun, the asteroid belt and what lies beyond!

Moons of the Solar System: Jupiter has 63 moons (give or take a couple) and Saturn has 67. Some of these moons are similar to our but others are strange places indeed. Some may even support life! Discover some of the most interesting bodies in the Solar System.

The Universe in 30 Minutes:A tour through the Universe. Includes Solar System, Stars, Galaxies, Nebulae, Black Holes, Cosmic Microwave Background, and the Big Bang.

UFO's:Come learn about UFO sightings and the evidence for the existence of aliens. How likely is it that there really is life outside our world?

Astronomy Lessons from Star Wars: Come find out what Star Wars can teach you about Astronomy! An action packed show full of interesting insights into how the Star Wars universe is similar to our own.  Come explore the galaxy with us and may the Force be with you!

The Aurora:It's hard to match the beauty of the Northern Lights. For centuries humans have gazed at the flowing ribbons of green, blue, and red, imagining what mystical powers they held. Only until recently have we discovered the true nature of the Aurora. Learn about the fascinating process that starts nearly 100 million miles away in the heart of the Sun.

The history of astronomy:This series has three parts to choose from: Part 1 - The Origins of Astronomy, Part 2 - The Heretical Minds, and Part 3 - The New Age of Astronomy

The World of tomorrow:Taking a look at current NASA projects, we launch forward in time 50 years to see what was once only feasible in science fiction, has become the reality of tomorrow.

Beyond Bizarre:Have you ever wondered what a black hole really is? How about time travel? What happens if you spray the sun with a water gun? Discover the bizarre properties of some of the strangest things in space.

The Pluto Files:We all grew up being taught that Pluto was just as much of a planet as Earth. So why now, 80+ years later, has it been kicked out of the Solar System?

Astronomy Jeopardy:Think you know our Universe? We have multiple difficulty levels of Astronomy Jeopardy with buzzers! Bring a group of friends and battle it out!

The Birth of the solar system:We've all heard of the Big Bang, but what happened after that? From the origin of the Universe, what natural processes led to planets and humans?

Mythbusters: Astronomy: Myth or Fact? Is Polaris the brightest star in the sky? Is the sky blue because of the oceans? Did we really land on the Moon? Come find out the answers to these questions and more!

Full-Dome Videos

Larry Cat in Space: A cartoon of a curious cat, Larry, who takes a trip to the moon. Great for young children (ages 3-6)!! Show Length: 30 min.

Wilbear's Adventure:All about a Teddy Bear who wants to fly! From the constellations to the story of the Wright Brothers Wilbear learns about the sky and our endeavors to join the birds who fly in it. Great for kids ages 3-6! Show Length: 22 min.

Hercules and other superhero stars:What better way to learn about the rainbow of stars than from the stars in the sky? Watch Hercules and other constellations come alive to show how stars work, the difference between red and blue stars, and all the spectacular stellar features up above. Recently remastered to 360 full-dome by MWA Planetarium, this Minneapolis Planetarium program is a true gem. Target audience grades 1-4.

amazing stargazing:This show walks us through the wonders of the seasons' night skies and the tips and tricks to finding the best constellations! Also included are easy to understand explanations of comets, asteroids, and meteor showers. Target audience grades 1-6.

SPACE DREAMS:Come rediscover the wonders of our known universe and the paths humanity has taken to get to where we are today. Reflect upon what we call "knowledge" and how science is an ever evolving part of who we are, and how we came to be.

The Voyager Encounters: From 1979 to 1989 the Voyager 1 and 2 missions explored the amazing reaches of our outer solar system. The cameras on these two spacecraft were the first to see many of these solar system objects up close. Join us as we celebrate planet month by investigating the journeys of these two landmark spacecraft. Narrated by Patrick Stewart. Show Length: 43 min.

HUBBLE Vision 2:"HUBBLE Vision 2" is a Full-Dome video about the important discoveries of the Hubble Space Telescope. Discover for yourself where stars are born and how they die; what the first galaxies in the universe looked like; and what happens when a comet crashes into Jupiter! All this, and more, presented using some of Hubble's most amazing images. It's "a fascinating tour of the cosmos - from Earth orbit!". Show length: 30 min.

Lightyears from Andromeda: A beam of light leaves the Andromeda Galaxy and arrives at Earth over 2 million years later. Follow the light beam as it travels through intergalactic space and discover how vast the space is between galaxies. Learn about the history of humanity and the how astronomy developed in the amount of time it took the light beam to reach us. "Light Years From Andromeda is a story of cosmic distances, and humanity's quest to understand the universe. Take a journey of epic proportions across space and time!" Narrated by Michael Dorn. Show Length: 30 min.

Marsquest:People have always been fascinated by the planet Mars. Learn about the history of the fascination with Mars from classical times to present day. Many spacecraft have now landed on Mars and we have discovered many important things about Mars through these explorations. Finally, consider what Mars might be like in the Future. Will we ever be able to live there? Show Length: 40 min.

cosmic colors:Cosmic Colors will take you on a wondrous journey across the entire electromagnetic spectrum.  Discover the many reasons for color—like why the sky is blue and why Mars is red.  Take a tour within a plant leaf and journey inside the human eye.  Investigate x-rays by voyaging to a monstrous black hole and then back at your doctor’s office.  You will even see the actual color of a dinosaur--based on recent evidence.  Get ready for an amazing adventure under a rainbow of cosmic light! Target audience is 5th grade and above. Watch a preview here.

dynamic earth:Explore the inner workings of Earth's climate system. With visualizations based on satellite monitoring data and advanced supercomputer simulations, this cutting-edge production follows a trail of energy that flows from the Sun into the interlocking systems that shape our climate: the atmosphere, oceans, and the biosphere. Audiences will ride along on swirling ocean and wind currents, dive into the heart of a monster hurricane, come face-to-face with sharks and gigantic whales, and fly into roiling volcanoes. Narrated by Liam Neeson.

BLACK HOLES: No longer the stuff of science fiction, the discovery of the black hole is a triumph of modern science. Explore the fascinating world of black holes in this program narrated by Academy Award nominated actor Liam Neeson.

Custom Shows Available! If your group would like to learn about a certain topic not listed, let us know and we will create a show just for you!

© 2016 University of Minnesota Duluth
The University of Minnesota is an equal opportunity educator and employer.
Last modified on 05/11/15 08:05 PM
University of Minnesota Campuses
Crookston | Duluth | Morris
Rochester | Twin Cities | Other Locations