Planetarium Shows

Peterson Planetarium offers custom night sky and full-dome digital video show presentations. Presentations vary length, theme, and age level interest. Browse the full show descriptions, links to online preview trailers, and summary table given below.

 Space Science & Engineering Technology     Astronomy     Physical Science     Earth Science      Biology      Mathematics



Night Skies over Emporia

This live program identifies seasonal constellations, bright stars, and planets. We discuss other interesting sky objects such as comet and International Space Station sightings. You are invited to share your knowledge and to ask questions during these interactive shows.  The Night Skies tour is recommended for ages 6 and up. Time can vary  according to your preference for ~5-25 minutes.

Fito Gato en el Espacio es un programa dirijido para niños de pre-kinder a cuarto grado escolar. Al concluir este espectáculo, uno de nuestros empleados dara un resumen del programa y luego señalara las estrellas y otros objetos astronomicos que son visibles en el cielo nocturno.

Space Science & Engineering Technology


Back to the Moon: For Good


Back to the Moon for Good [2013] - 25 minutes

Immerse yourself in a race to the Moon 40 years after the historic Apollo landings.Learn about the history of lunar exploration, and the Moon’s resources. Discover what humanity’s future on the Moon might hold. See how a competition among privately funded international teams is ushering in a new era of lunar exploration.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.

Losing the Dark


Losing the Dark [2013] - 6 minutes

Starry skies are a vanishing treasure because light pollution is washing away our view of the cosmos. It not only threatens astronomy, it disrupts wildlife, and affects human health. The yellow glows over cities and towns — seen so clearly from space — are testament to the billions spent in wasted energy from lighting up the sky.  Losing the Dark is a “public service announcement” planetarium show, a collaboration of Loch Ness Productions and the International Dark-Sky Association. It introduces and illustrates some of the issues regarding light pollution, and suggests three simple actions people can take to help mitigate it.  The show gives planetarium professionals a tool to help educate the public about the problems of light pollution. Planetarians are uniquely positioned to teach audiences ways we can all work together to implement responsible use of lighting.






Fito Gato En El Espacio [2005]  - 30 min       

Fito Gato en el Espacio es una presentacion de caricatura juguetona e imaginativa sobre un gato muy curioso. Desde los ojos de Fito, observamos su familia humana, un grupo de fanaticos observantes del cielo nocturno. Fito toma en cuenta como el tiempo humano es distinto al tiempo de un gato. Diana (la humana de Fito) acepta un trabajo en la Luna y tristemente deja a Fito atras. Fito encuentra un manera de esconderse en un baul lleno de ropa. El baul y Fito abordaron el Avion Espacial, que los llevaria a la estacion espacial Freedom.

De ahi, el es transladado a la Nave Espacial. Durante el periodo en donde no existe la gravedad, el baul se abre. Fito flota afuera a la cabina y mira hacia afuera. Cuando Diana descubre a Fito el brinca para saludarla, pero vuela sobre su cabeza, con eso de que el solo pesa dos libras en la gravedad Lunar. El conoce el resto de los habitantes del Imbrium Village, incluso al malvado Comandante Stone, quien ordena a Diana que regrese a Fito a la Tierra. La tripulacion Lunar hace una peticion para mantener a Fito con ellos y el Comandante Stone acepta. Hasta le hace un traje espacial a Fito. Cuando Fito explora afuera, el ve la Tierra, casi igual como cuando el miraba la Luna desde la terraza de su casa.

Translation taken directly from HERE


Magic Tree House

Magic Tree House Space Mission [2011] - 30 minutes

When the Magic Tree House appears in the backyard of Jack and Annie, they discover that it is full of books. Together the brother, sister, and audience travel to other planets in the universe as they answer a series of questions about outer space.

little star that could


The Little Star that Could [2009] - 25 minutes    

“The Little Star That Could” is a story about Little Star, an average yellow star in search for planets of his own to protect and warm. Along the way, he meets other stars, learns what makes each star special, and discovers that stars combine to form star clusters and galaxies. Eventually, Little Star finds his planets. Each planet is introduced to your audiences with basic information about our Solar System.

little star that could

Earth, Moon, & Sun


Earth, Moon, & Sun [2009] - 26 minutes

This planetarium show strikes curiosity in the viewer as Coyote’s misconceptions of the Earth, Moon, and Sun are brought to their attention. Coyote is adapted from Native American oral traditions.  Questions such as why the moon can sometimes be seen in the daytime, why the sun does not rise and set in the same place, and why the moon sometimes changes shape are answered. This helps the viewer understand how the Earth, Moon, and Sun work as a system.


Chronicle of a Journey to Earth


Chronicle of a Journey to Earth [2010] - 20 minutes

Travel to a unique planet — to call your home! Imagine that you are a traveler from the depths of interstellar space. As you approach our solar system, what will you find? Long before you reach the Sun, you traverse the Oort cloud, the deep freeze at the outermost reaches. You pass by the gas giants and their families of moons and rings. Finally, you reach the inner solar system, and the rocky worlds of Mars, Earth, Venus and Mercury.


Trailer - Resources

IBEX: Interstellar Boundary Explorer [2009] -
28 minutes

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.  Designed for visitors with an appreciation for the challenges of space science and a desire to learn more about science research, the show follows the creation of NASA’s Interstellar Boundary Explorer (IBEX). Audiences will 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, audiences will hear from the scientists and engineers that developed the IBEX mission and created the spacecraft, and get the latest updates on the mission’s discoveries.



Trailer - Information 

Dark [2012] - 20 minutes

DARK is a fulldome movie that explains and explores the nature of dark matter, the missing 80% of the mass of the Universe.  The search for dark matter is the most pressing astrophysical problem of our time – the solution to which will help us understand why the Universe is as it is, where it came from, and how it has evolved over billions of years – the unimaginable depths of deep time, of which a human life is but a flickering instant. But in that instant, we can grasp its immensity and, through science, we can attempt to understand it.

Planet for Goldilocks


A Planet for Goldilocks [2012] - 25 minutes

The search for a planet like Earth – one with temperatures, oceans, and an atmosphere suitable for life has been a little like Goldilocks’ search for a decent bowl of porridge: some are too hot, some are too cold, but some are “just right.”  Learn the techniques astronomers have already used to find more than 2,000 tiny, dark worlds in orbit around distant stars – some in the Goldilocks Zone.  As we add exploration tools like the Thirty Meter Telescope atop Hawaii’s Mauna Kea, we will undoubtedly find thousands more!

Two Small Pieces of Glass

Trailer - Information

Two Small Pieces of Glass [2009] - 25 minutes

Two Small Pieces of Glass follows two teenage students while they learn about the history of the telescope.  They learn how Galileo modified a child's spyglass with two small pieces of glass to peer into the heavens.  While looking through the telescopes the students observe many of the beauties in our solar system and learn how NASA is using the same ideas to peer even further into space.

Astronomy 3000 Years of Stargazing


Astronomy 3000 Years of Stargazing [2010] - 34 minutes           

The sky, and everything that happens in it, has always piqued our curiosity. The regular cycle of the seasons and the motion of the stars have fascinated us since our earliest ancestors looked up to the sky. In the learned company of a cartoon Einstein, this show takes audiences on a tour of the major astronomical milestones of the last 3,000 years – from the cosmological models of antiquity, through the Ptolemaic system of epicycles, to the contributions of Copernicus, Newton, Hubble and many others.

We explore the discoveries made possible by the use of technology – from the first telescope used by Galileo – to modern ones in use on Earth and in space. All have revealed the beauty of the cosmos. Come along for an exploration of nebulae, pulsars, and black holes and 3,000 years of astronomy exploration.


                                                                     Physical Science


Flight Adventures

Flight Adventures [2012] -   20 minutes   

Dreams of flying, model aircraft, and a young girl and her grandfather come together in this multi-media planetarium show about the science of aeronautics. Learn about famous inventors and aviators of the past and the pioneers who first revealed the four forces of flight. See images of aircraft past, present, and future and imagine where flight might take us.


Cosmic Colors

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Cosmic Colors -An Adventure along the Spectrum [2011] - 31 minutes

Enjoy a wondrous journey through the world of color and beyond!  Discover why the sky is blue, why Mars is red, and the reason why many things are the color that they are.  Tour the interior of a plant leaf, voyage through a human eye, then step into the invisible universe as you investigate x-rays by taking on a monstrous black hole.  Explore the world of infrared in a roaring fire, and even discover what may have been the actual color of a dinosaur. Explore the amazing rainbow of cosmic light through COSMIC COLORS, an original production of the Daniel M. Soref Planetarium in cooperation with the Great Lakes Planetarium Association.

Earth Science

Solar Quest

Solar Quest [2013] - 11 minutes

Solar Quest is a planetarium short feature that demonstrates and provides an overview of the Sun – Earth environment.  Detailed and high quality animations and videos demonstrate various solar phenomena such as fusion, light energy and solar surface features and phenomena.  The show also discusses the impacts that space weather may have and how the Earth’s atmosphere and magnetic field protects all life on Earth.  Highlighted in the show is the role of the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) and how scientists have begun to use it as a way to help identify and predict severe space weather.


Earthquakes Evidence of a Restless Planet


Earthquakes: Evidence of a Restless Planet [2012] - 23 min      

Fly along the San Andreas Fault before diving into the planet’s interior, travel back in time to witness the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and the break-up of Pangaea 200 million years ago, visit the sites of historical earthquakes in India, China and Japan, and learn how scientists and engineers collaborate to build a safer environment. Along the way, you’ll discover how earthquakes fit into the larger story of our restless planet.


Supervolcanoes [2012] - 24 minutes

The scene was 74,000 years ago, on the island of Sumatra. A volcanic eruption triggered the sudden and violent collapse of a vast regional plateau. Toba, as the volcano is known today, was the largest volcanic eruption in the last 25 million years. But Earth has seen far larger. 250 million years ago, an eruption in what’s now Siberia lasted a million years and was probably responsible for the greatest episode of mass extinction in Earth’s history.

Supervolcanoes is an immersive planetarium show that looks back at rare classes of eruptions that have marshaled the energy that lurks, like a sleeping dragon, beneath the surface of planet Earth. The program moves beyond Earth to explore the impact of giant volcanic eruptions around our solar system. Audiences will fly down to Neptune’s frigid moon Triton, and onto the ultimate volcanic world: Jupiter’s moon Io. On a visit to a legendary North American hot spot, Yellowstone National Park, the film asks: can a supervolcano erupt in our time?

Life Science

Origins of Life

Origins of Life [2005] -23 minutes

Origins of Life deals with some of the most profound questions of life science: the origins of life and the human search for life beyond Earth.  Starting with the Big Bang, in chronological order, the show deals with the prebiotic chemistry in the Universe, the formation of stars, formation of solar systems, and the first life on Earth.  Furthermore Origins of Life covers the great extinctions as well as our search for (primitive) life beyond planet Earth.  This show is a inspirational journey through time and a celebration of life on Earth.  It features many recent discoveries related to life science, demonstrating that if there was ever a time that science made its greatest advances, it’s right now!


Cell! Cell! Cell! Poster

Cell! Cell! Cell! [2012] -24 minutes

This is the story of the trillions of cells that form our bodies, from our beginnings as a single cell to the complexity of a whole body: it’s the story of who we are. Join Raj and Sooki on a totally ex-CELL-ent immersive journey. Get shrunk down by the Shrink-a-tron, go back in time with the Retroscope and see an exploded view of all the body systems courtesy of the cell-o-tron.


Escher's Universe

To see it you need to register to see, but it is

Escher's Universe [2012] - 26 minutes

Escher’s Universe is based on the life and work of the multifaceted Maurits Cornelis Escher.  Was he an artist, an astronomer, a mathematician, a traveler?  This show will take us to the artist’s studio where his most iconic works are displayed. From this intimate and emotional place, we’ll visit Escher’s particular universe and we will be surprised by his ability to join Science and Art.  He uses mathematics, astronomy, optics, crystallography and geometry in his creations to artistically explain very complex concepts addressed by Cosmology. Escher’s shapes, three-dimensional reconstructions, dual worlds, unreal buildings or impossible continuities reveal his passion for knowledge. This show was produced in Spain by Parque de las Ciencias de Granada” and developed by El EXilio.

Show Details