From constellations and space exploration to telescopes and dark matter, the Discovery Science Center’s full-dome Henry B. duPont III Planetarium is an experience your students will enthusiastically embrace!
All planetarium shows are offered on a reserved basis for groups and must be booked in advance. Groups of 10 or more may not purchase media passes at the door and must book a private show.
Digital Planetarium Shows
One World, One Sky: Big Bird’s Adventure – Grades PK-1
Young audience members will be thrilled when they find themselves on Sesame Street with their famous friends, Big Bird and Elmo. The fun begins when Elmo’s friend, Hu Hu Zhu, visits from China and the three of them take the audience on an exciting journey of discovery to learn about the Sun, stars, and Big Dipper. Elmo and Hu Hu Zhu blast off on an imaginary trip to the Moon and when they return home to Earth everyone discovers that, no matter where we live, we all share the same sky.
The Little Star That Could – Grades PK-2
Join Little Star, an average yellow star, as he searches for planets of his own to warm and protect. Along the way he meets other stars, learns what makes each star special, and discovers that stars combine to form clusters and galaxies. Little Star also learns about planets and our Solar System.
Flight Adventures – Grades K-3
In this multimedia planetarium show about the science of aeronautics, you will discover the science of flight through the eyes of a young girl and her grandfather as they explore how birds, kites, planes, and models fly, and imagine where flight might take them. Learn about famous inventors and aviators of the past and the pioneers who first revealed the four forces of flight and how NASA is looking for new and safer ways to travel with the help of future engineers and aviators like your students!
We Are Aliens – Grades 2 and up
What does a planet need to support life? Are we alone in the Universe? Explore the extreme environments here on Earth where life thrives, then take a close-up look at the research happening on Mars and throughout the Solar System in search for life. Learn how astronomers are discovering extrasolar planets and studying their environments. Join the quest to understand our place in a Galaxy that might be teeming with life.
Ice Worlds – Grades 3 and up
The delicate balance between ice, water and the existence of life has been a topic of scientific inquiry for generations. In travels to the Arctic and Antarctic regions of our planet, we’ll examine the ecosystems that exist and thrive there and learn how their survival is connected with our own. Beyond Earth, we’ll see how the existence of ice shapes the landscape and the natural systems on other planets and moons in our Solar System. Winner of five Telly Awards. Narrrated by Academy Award nominated actress, Emily Watson. Produced in cooperation with the University of New Hampshire, the Houston Museum of Natural Science, with the support of the National Science Foundation.
Secret Lives of Stars – Grades 4 and up
Not all stars are created equal. Some are massive. Others are tiny; almost insignificant. The specific characteristics of a star will determine what type of life it will lead, how long it might live and even the type of death it will die. We will witness the amazing variety of stars and peer into their secret lives. Narrated by Sir Patrick Stewart of TV’s Star Trek: The Next Generation and the X-Men films. Winner of 4 Telly Awards.
Birth of Planet Earth – Grades 4 and up
Birth of Planet Earth tells the twisted tale of our planet’s origins. Scientists now believe that our galaxy is filled with solar systems, including up to a billion planets roughly the size of our own. The film employs advanced, data-driven, cinematic-quality visualizations to explore some of the greatest questions in science today: How did Earth become a living planet in the wake of our solar system’s violent birth? What does its history tell us about our chances of finding other worlds that are truly Earth-like? Produced by Spitz Creative Media, NCSA’s Advanced Visualization Lab, Thomas Lucas Productions, Inc., in association with Tellus Science Museum.
Edge of Darkness – Grades 4 and up
Edge of Darkness highlights the exploration of asteroids, comets, and the Kuiper belt, following interplanetary space missions that are currently underway. The film features amazing scenes of places never before seen gathered by key space missions that culminated with groundbreaking discoveries in 2015. It features a spectacular flight through the great cliffs on comet 67P, a close look at the fascinating bright “lights” on Ceres, and the first ever close ups of dwarf binary planet Pluto/Charon and its moons. Narrated by Hayley Atwell, Agent Carter, from the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the ABC television series.
Dawn of the Space Age – Grades 4 and up
We begin with the launch of Sputnik and important Russian space history as well as the American Gemini, Apollo, and Shuttle programs. The show transports viewers to the International Space Station, the X-prize winning private space ship, and on to future Mars exploration. Be immersed and inspired by a reconstruction of humankind’s first steps into space. Who were these men and women that took part in these dangerous and heroic endeavors? Witness their drive, passion, and perseverance to explore, in this epic animated production.
Two Small Pieces of Glass – Grades 4 and up
Join two teenage students at a local star party as they discover how the telescope has helped us understand our place in the cosmos. Learn how telescopes work and how the world’s largest observatories use them to explore the mysteries of the universe. Explore the Galilean Moons of Jupiter, Saturn’s rings and the spiral structure of galaxies. See the discoveries of Galileo, Huygens, Newton, Hubble, and other observational explorers.
We Are Astronomers – Grades 4 and up
Do you know what an astronomer does? Today’s astronomer is not the lone observer as in centuries past. “We Are Astronomers” reveals global collaboration, technology, and dedication needed to answer the unsolved mysteries of the Universe.
Forward! To The Moon – Grades 5 and up
Forward! To the Moon launches us on a journey beyond the Earth towards a sustainable future in space. Narrated by Kari Byron from Mythbusters, the show highlights NASA’s 21st century Artemis program, named after the Greek moon Goddess and twin of Apollo. Artemis is the next step in our mission to explore the universe and land the first woman and person of color on the surface of the Moon. Produced by Fiske Planetarium in collaboration with TEND Studio.
From Earth to the Universe – Grades 5 and up
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!
Seeing: A Photon’s Journey Across Space, Time, And Mind – Grades 5 and up
Ride a photon across the Galaxy to your mind’s eye and experience how we see. This planetarium show follows a photon’s creation and journey across the Galaxy to a young stargazer’s eye. We’ll follow the photon into the stargazer’s eye to learn about the structures of the eye and their functions before taking a ride on the optic nerve!
The Hot and Energetic Universe – Grades 5 and up
Explore how high-energy astrophysics plays a key role in understanding the hot and violent nature of the universe. It will take you on journeys through our own galaxy, revealing the hidden characteristics of neutron stars, supernova remnants, stars, like our Sun, and very hot gas, which emit copious amounts of high-energy radiation that can be detected by astronomical instruments in space and on the ground.
Stars of the Pharaohs – Grades 5 and up
Travel to ancient Egypt to see how science was used to tell time, make a workable calendar, and align huge buildings. You’ll learn about the connection the ancient Egyptians felt with the stars and various astronomical phenomena, and experience some of the most spectacular temples and tombs of the ancient world recreated in all of their original splendor. Telly Award winner. Narrated by John Rhys-Davies, of the Indiana Jones films and The Lord of the Rings films.
The Sun, Our Living Star – Grades 6 and up
The Sun has shone on our world for four and a half billion years. The light that warms our skin today has been felt by every person who has ever lived. It is our nearest star and our planet’s powerhouse, the source of the energy that drives our winds, our weather and all life. The passage of the Sun’s fiery disc across the sky — day by day, month by month — was the only way to keep track of time for countless past civilizations. Don’t be fooled by the terminology; although it is a typical dwarf star, the Sun consumes 600 million tons of hydrogen each second and is 500 times as massive as all the planets combined. Discover the secrets of our star in this planetarium show and experience never-before-seen images of the Sun’s violent surface in immersive fulldome format.
The Dark Matter Mystery – Grades 6 and up
What are the building blocks of our universe? We’ve been trying to answer this question since time began, but still haven’t found the ultimate answer! Approximately a quarter of the universe consists of mysterious dark matter. We know it is there; however, we don’t know what it is made up of. This planetarium show takes you on the biggest quest in astrophysics! Discover why we know there must be dark matter at all. Join scientists as they observe space, as well as deep underground. Will they be able to reveal the dark matter mystery?
Europe to the Stars – Grades 8 and up
Fulldome show “Europe to the Stars” takes the viewer on an epic journey behind the scenes at the most productive ground-based observatory in the world, revealing the science, the history, the technology and the people. Discover the European Southern Observatory in a story of cosmic curiosity, courage and perseverance; a story of observing a Universe of deep mysteries and hidden secrets; and a story of designing, building and operating the most powerful ground-based telescopes on the planet. The movie focuses on the essential aspects of an astronomical observatory while offering a broader view of how astronomy is done. From site-testing to locate the best places in the world for observing the sky, to how telescopes are built and what mysteries of the Universe astronomers are revealing.
Mayan Archeoastronomy: Observers of the Universe – Grades 8 and up
In a feast of colours and sounds, Mayan Archaeoastronomy: Observers of the Universe makes a tour of 6 Mayan temples: San Gervasio, Chichen Itzá, Uxmal, Edzná, Palenque and Bonampak where the spectator dives into a Mayan world of knowledge about the importance of the orientations of its temples in relation to the movement of some stars like the Sun, the Moon and Venus. Mayan Archaeoastronomy: Observers of the Universe is the first movie for fulldome completely animated made in Mexico. It is narrated in 4 languages English, Spanish, Portuguese and Chinese. It is a film financed by the National Council of Science and Technology of Mexico, produced by Frutos Digitales with the support of the European Southern Observatory (ESO).
Custom Show – All Ages
Join our experts for a special planetarium show created to support your learning goals! Shows must be booked a minimum of four weeks in advance, and the Director of the Henry B. duPont III Planetarium must be consulted a minimum of six weeks prior to your show. Pricing varies with content and production. Please call (203) 416-3529.
The Skies Tonight – All Ages
Coming to a dark sky near you! Join our experts as they take you on a fantastic journey through the nighttime sky. Students are shown how to locate and identify the stars, planets, and constellations visible in the evening sky at the time of their visit. The Galaxy awaits…
Tour of the Solar System – All Ages
Join our educators for a tour of Earth’s nearest neighbors! From planets and dwarf planets to moons and more, you’ll see some of the major bodies in our solar system and learn about how our understanding of our place in the universe develops with each new discovery.