Austin Planetarium Discovery Dome has programs for all ages, covering many of the TEKS for Earth and Space Science in grades K - 8 and for Astronomy and IPC in grades 9 - 12. Watch this page in the coming weeks for additional programs and educational full-dome videos.
Note that you may request different programs, or combinations of programs, for each group in the dome.
Interactive Educator-Led Star Tours
The Sky Tonight
Grades pre K - 12
An interactive program led by the Astronomy Educator exploring the stars, constellations and planets visible in the sky tonight. Demonstrates daily motion of stars and planets, plus constellation stories. Program content is geared toward students' grade level.
Earth, Sun, and Moon
Grades 2 - 8
An interactive program led by the Astronomy Educator exploring physical differences between the Earth, Sun and Moon, plus phases of the Moon. May include hands-on activities to help the students visualize how the Earth-Sun-Moon system moves, plus information on eclipses. Program begins with information on constellations visible tonight and daily star motion. Program content is geared toward students' grade level.
Planets and Their Orbits
Grades 2 - 12
An interactive program led by the Astronomy Educator exploring the planets and how their orbits show up in the night sky. Includes facts and images of planets and their moons. Program begins with information on constellations visible tonight and daily star motion. Program content is geared toward students' grade level.
Full-Dome Immersive Planetarium Shows
Nanocam, a trip into biodiversity
Grades 5-12 and Adult
Nanocam explores the kingdoms of bacteria, protists and their stunning mechanism of motility, the amazing structure of fungi, the specializations of plants and the incredible complexity of the animal kingdom, seen through an electron microscope -- a breathtaking trip into the five kingdoms of living things. This unique program, based on a scientific approach and featuring images that have never been seen before, offers another dimension of reality, a reality that is measured in micrometers. Nanocam is a fascinating journey exploring life-forms that are invisible to the human eye and contribute to a better understanding of the world we live in. See the trailer here.
Nanocam is a GREAT show to enhance any life science class, especially 9th grade Biology!
Produced by El Exilio, Spain
Grades 5-12 and Adult
Join the young Charles Darwin on an adventurous voyage of exploration circumnavigating the World with the HMS Beagle, as he strives to answer the question: How could new species arise to replace those lost in extinction?
Witness the thrill of scientific discovery by seeing the world through Darwin's eyes, make observations of the most beautiful natural scenery and let the pieces of the scientific puzzle slowly but surely fall into place.
Note to teachers: this is a great show to promote students' interest in and discussion about scientific theories and the scientific method. (45 min)
Produced by Mirage 3D
Grades 3 - 12 and Adult
The exploration of space is the greatest endeavor that humankind has ever undertaken. What does it take to be part of this incredible journey? What does it take to become an astronaut? ASTRONAUT takes you from Earth into space... and beyond.
Experience a rocket launch from inside the body of an astronaut. Explore the amazing worlds of inner and outer space, from floating around the International Space Station to maneuvering through microscopic region
s of the human body. Discover the perils that lurk in space as we subject 'Chad,' our test astronaut, to everything that space has to throw at him. ASTRONAUT is an experience like nothing on Earth. (23 min)
Produced by National Space Centre, narrated by Ewan McGregor
One World, One Sky: Big Bird's Adventure
Ages 3 - 7, Grades Pre-K - 1
Join Big Bird, Elmo and their Muppet friend from China, Hu Hu Zhu, as they take viewers on a journey of discovery to learn about the Big Dipper, the North Star, and the Moon. Use your imagination to travel with Elmo and Hu Hu Zhu from Sesame Street to the moon, and discover how different it is from Earth. A joint production by Sesame Workshop, the Adler Planetarium, The Liberty Science Center, and The Beijing Planetarium. (25 min)
Teacher Guide available: Download (3.2 Mb) in PDF format
Two Small Pieces of Glass: The Amazing Telescope
Grades 3 - 12 and Adult
While attending a local star party, two teenage students learn how the telescope has helped us understand our place in space and how telescopes continue to expand our understanding of the Universe. Their conversation with a local female astronomer enlightens them on the history of the telescope and how current astronomers use these instruments to explore the mysteries of the universe. While looking through the astronomer's telescope, the students, along with the planetarium audience, explore the Galilean Moons, Saturn's rings, and spiral structure of galaxies. (25 min)
Saturn becomes the true “Lord of the Rings”. After nearly seven years in transit, the two-story Cassini-Huygens spacecraft began orbiting Saturn in 2005. Now, our mobile dome theater features Saturn, the Ring World, featuring the Cassini-Huygens mission. Cassini has explored Saturn and its moons for more than four years, while the Huygens probe had landed on the surface of Titan, Saturn’s largest moon. The Cassini Saturn encounter began with a flyby of Saturn’s farthest moon, Phoebe. See Saturn up-close and all-around-you inside our dome theater. (25 min)
Teacher Resources available: Download Resource Links in PDF format Download Presentation/Guide (3.5 Mb) in PDF format
Dawn of the Space Age
Grades 3 - 12 and Adult
Re-live the excitement of the early days of space exploration, from the launch of the first artificial satellite Sputnik, to the magnificent lunar landings and privately operated space flights. Produced by Mirage 3D of the Netherlands, "Dawn of the Space Age" begins with the launch of Sputnik and covers
important Russian space history as well as the American Gemini, Apollo and Shuttle programs. Be immersed and overwhelmed with this most accurate historic reconstruction of Man's first steps into space. (45 min)
IBEX: Search for the Edge of the Solar System
Grades 6 - 12 and Adult
Join scientists who are investigating the boundary between our Solar System and the rest of our galaxy in IBEX: Search for the Edge of the Solar System. This show follows the creation of NASA's Interstellar Boundary Explorer (IBEX). Get an in-depth look at the mission and how IBEX is collecting high-speed atoms to create a map of our Solar System's boundary. Narrated by two inquisitive teenagers, the scientists and engineers who developed the IBEX mission and spacecraft give the latest updates on the mission's discoveries. (30 min)
Teacher Resources available: Download Resource Links in PDF format