• Cernan Space Center Banner

    School and Group Program Guide

    This document is the text version of the Cernan Earth and Space Center's School and Group Program Guide. For more information, please call the Cernan Center at (708) 456-0300, Ext. 3372 or e-mail us at cernan@triton.edu. E-mail may only be used to obtain general information. Reservations can only be made by telephone.


    THAT'S AS EASY AS A . . . B . . . C!

    As a teacher of group leader, you are entitled to see one of our feature shows (designated as "A" shows) and one of our mini shows (designated as "B" shows) for each of the Cernan Center's reserved time slots -- 9:45 a.m. and 11 a.m. and 12:10 p.m., 1:20 p.m., 2:30 p.m. and 4 (or 4:30) p.m. Group leaders can either select a mini show that complements their primary show or introduces an entirely different subject matter. The choice, as always, is yours. And, as before, all of the Cernan Center's programs include a question-and-answer session (C) with one of our knowledgeable show operators.


    The Cernan Center continues to offer its telescope loan program, whereby teachers of grades 5 through 12 can borrow a telescope for two months of classroom usage, thereby providing students with safe views of the sun by day and the moon, planets and other celestial objects by night. For more information about how your school or group can participate, please click here.

    The Cernan Earth and Space Center of Triton College is a unique and exciting destination for groups of all kinds, including school, scout, senior citizen, church and business groups. Our modern facility houses a 100-seat dome theater, a lobby exhibit area with displays on space exploration and astronomy and the Star Store gift shop. The dome theater is equipped to present a variety of innovative multimedia planetarium programs, C-360 films and spectacular laser light shows.

    The Cernan Earth and Space Center is named for astronaut Eugene A. Cernan, who flew aboard the Gemini 9, Apollo 10 and Apollo 17 space missions. In December of 1972, as the commander of Apollo 17, Captain Cernan became the last human to leave his footprints on the moon. Cernan was born and raised in suburban Bellwood, not far from where the Triton College campus and the Cernan Center now stand. For a more detailed biography of Captain Cernan, click here.

    Group programs are usually presented on Mondays through Fridays at one of seven time slots — 9:45 a.m. and 11 a.m. and 12:10 p.m., 1:20 p.m., 2:30 p.m. and 4 (or 4:30) p.m. Groups also can join our regularly scheduled public programs. Reservations are required for all group programs and should be made as soon as possible by contacting the Cernan Center at (708) 456-0300, Ext. 3372. After making your reservation, you will be sent a confirmation outlining the details of your visit, as well as a Teacher's Guide. (You also may download a Teacher's Guide by clicking on the link beside each show description below). When you receive your confirmation, please check it for accuracy and bring it along with you on the day of your program. If you must cancel your reservation, please notify the Cernan Center as soon as possible. Groups that fail to arrive for their scheduled time slot or group leaders who fail to cancel their group reservation two weeks prior to their scheduled visit are responsible for a cancellation fee, which is described below.

    Groups should plan to arrive at least 15 minutes prior to their scheduled program time. Buses should park at the curb in front of the Cernan Center. Visitors may park in the lot north of the Cernan Center. Refer to the map provided on your reservation confirmation, which you'll receive by mail shortly after you make your reservation.

    For groups attending on Monday through Friday, 9:45 a.m. to 4 p.m.:
       • School Groups (Minimum Fees Apply)
          In-District Schools: $4 per Student
          Out-of-District Schools: $4.50 per Student
          One supervisory adult is admitted free for every 10 students.
          Additional supervisory adults are admitted at the appropriate student rate.
       • Other Groups (Minimum Fees Apply)
          Youth Groups: $4.50 per Child
          Adult Groups: $8 per person ($10 for Laser Shows)
          Senior Citizen Groups (Ages 55+): $4 for person ($5 for Laser Shows)
          For youth groups, one supervisor is admitted free for every 10 youths.
          Additional supervisors are admitted at the appropriate per person rate.
          For adult or senior groups, one group leader is admitted free per group.

    Other days and times can be reserved, but at a considerably greater cost. Please call (708) 456-0300, Ext. 3372, on weekdays for more information.


    Groups who reserve more than one weekday time slot will now receive a $1 per person discount for their second time slot that same day. For example, an out-of-district group who pays a rate of $4.50 per person for their first time slot would only pay an additional $3.50 per person for reserving a second time slot.

    Groups that fail to arrive for their scheduled time slot or group leaders who fail to cancel their group reservation two weeks prior to their scheduled visit are responsible for the following cancellation fees:
          1 to 29 attendees: $20 per canceled time slot
          30 or more attendees: 75 cents per reserved seat per canceled time slot

    Exceptions to this policy include instances of severe weather, transportation failures and similar unavoidable circumstances. For more information about this policy, call the Cernan Center on weekdays at (708) 456-0300, Ext. 3372.

    There is a $50 minimum fee to schedule a time slot. Small groups need not pay the minimum fee if another group joins them within the same time slot. Full payment is expected at the time of the program unless other arrangements are made in advance. The Cernan Center offers a 50-cent per head discount for any weekday group reservation scheduled for the months of September, October, January or February. Minimum fees still apply. Time slots are limited and are offered on a first-come, first-served basis.

    Multimedia and laser programs change every two months. Call the Cernan Center at (708) 583-3100 for current program descriptions, show times and admission fees. Reservations for public shows are recommended for groups of 10 or more.

    For groups attending public programs on Friday evenings, Saturday evenings or Sunday afternoons:
    Adult Groups: $8 per Person ($10 for Laser Shows)
    Children (Ages 12 and Under): $4 per Child ($5 for Laser Shows)
    Senior Citizen Groups (ages 55+): $4 per Person ($5 for Laser Shows)
    For groups comprised of children or youths, one supervisor is admitted free for every 10 youths. Additional supervisors are admitted at the appropriate per person rate. For adult or senior groups, one group leader is admitted free per group.


    The following is a list of programs that are available to groups at the Cernan Earth and Space Center. For a more detailed description of each program, please visit our Show Descriptions page or click on the show titles. Grade level recommendations are listed for each program. Teachers and youth group leaders may schedule any program for any grade but should refer to the suggested grade level to estimate the age appropriateness of the program. All feature shows (designated as A) are between 30 and 50 minutes in length. Mini shows (B) are between five and 20 minutes in length.

    Programs that are presented on the Cernan Center's new 3-screen video system are tagged in one of two ways:
          1) as 3-SCREEN SHOW if it was produced in that format or
          2) as NEW 3-SCREEN VERSION if it was an older show converted to that format


    For a more detailed description of each program, please navigate to our Show Descriptions page or click on the show titles.

    To download a Teacher's Guide for one or more of our programs, please click on the "Download the Teacher's Guide" link beside each show description.



    Magic Sky (Preschool and Kindergarten) 33 min.
    This show provides a basic introduction to the magic of the planetarium, the cycle of day and night, and the motion of objects in the daytime and nighttime sky. Download the Teacher's Guide.

    Dinosaurs in Space (Preschool through 2nd grade) 35 min.
    Hosted by an entertaining dinosaur duo, this popular show features a unique and informative look at these fascinating creatures, plus a journey into space that is out of this world. Download the Teacher's Guide.

    Dinosaurios en el Espacio (Preschool through 2nd grade) 35 min.
    The Spanish language version of Dinosaurs in Space.

    The Little Star That Could (Preschool through 2nd grade) 34 min.
    This show follows the adventure of Little Star, who travels the galaxy, meets many different kinds of stars, and makes an amazing discovery about himself. Download the Teacher's Guide.

    Once in a Blue Moon (1st through 3rd grade) 38 min.
    Why does the Moon seem to follow you? Why can you see it in the daytime? What causes the different shapes of the Moon? What is a Blue Moon? Find the answer to all these lunar questions in this show. Download the Teacher's Guide.

    Our Place in Space (Preschool through 2nd grade)  33 min. NEW 3-SCREEN VERSION
    Hosted by several animal characters, this show explores the causes of day and night, the importance of our sun, the beauty of the constellations and the variety of objects in the universe. Download the Teacher's Guide.

    Rusty Rocket's Last Blast (Preschool through 2nd grade) 36 min. FULL DOME
    Hosted by Rusty Rocket, this show explores the basics of rocket physics, the immense distances found in space travel, and a quick tour of the solar system with humor and original songs. Download the Teacher's Guide.

    Zip! Zoom! Whiz! (Preschool through 2nd grade)  37 min. NEW 3-SCREEN VERSION
    Zip up your flight suit, zoom into space and whiz by stars and planets! Come discover how people explore space and see some of the most amazing sights in our universe. Download the Teacher's Guide.

    Destination: The Planets (Grades 3 and up) 42 min. NEW 3-SCREEN VERSION
    Written in the fashion of an imaginary spaceship tour of the Sun and its family of planets, Destination: The Planets describes the latest information on the solar system and its major components, including the eight planets; their satellites; the asteroid belt; the Kuiper Belt; and more. Formerly known as Destination: Pluto. Download the Teacher's Guide.

    More Than Meets the Eye (Grades 3 and up) 30 min. NEW 3-SCREEN VERSION
    Celebrate the beauty of the starry skies in this exciting show that explores the celestial wonders that are within reach of binoculars or a small telescope. Download the Teacher's Guide.

    On Orbit (Grades 3 and up) 38 min. NEW 3-SCREEN VERSION
    Take a virtual tour of the International Space Station with this new video-based program that features NASA footage taken by the astronauts themselves. Download the Teacher's Guide.

    Space Park 360 (Grades 3 - Adult) 38 min. FULL DOME
    A 38-minute, nine amusement park rides show that takes audiences on a wild ride through the solar system. Not heavy on educational information.

    Bad Astronomy (Grades 5 and up) 40 min. 3-SCREEN SHOW
    Were the Apollo Moon landings a hoax? Have aliens visited the Earth? Can you discover the future by the stars? Investigate the science behind these and other popular astronomical myths and misconceptions. Download the Teacher's Guide.

    Back to the Moon for Good (Grades 5 and up)  42 min. FULL DOME
    Legendary actor Tim Allen narrates "Back To The Moon For Good", a new dome show about the public sector's race to reach the moon with stunning visuals. It recounts the history of moon exploration and provides an insider's look into the teams that are now vying for the $30 million Google Lunar X-Prize.

    Cosmic Colors (Grades 5 and up) 32 min. FULL DOME
    Cosmic Colors takes viewers on a wondrous journey across the entire electromagnetic spectrum. Discover the many reasons for color, such as why the sky is blue and why Mars is red. Take a tour within a plant leaf and inside the human eye. Investigate x-rays from a black hole and learn what color dinosaurs may have actually been. Download the Teacher's Guide.

    Galaxies (Grades 5 and up) 40 min.
    This planetarium show will transport you deep into space to explore galaxies, including both our own Milky Way galaxy and the more distant and mysterious galaxies that comprise the universe. Download the Teacher's Guide.

    Journey to the Stars (Grades 5 and up) 30 min.
    This show presents an array of astronomy-related subjects, including an introduction to the nighttime sky, milestones of space travel, the birth and death of stars, black holes and more. Download the Teacher's Guide.

    The Moon: From Imagination to Exploration (Grades 5 and up) 47 min.
    This show explores the many aspects of the Earth's only natural satellite — its phases, its tidal effects, its surface markings, solar and lunar eclipses, the Apollo missions, and more. Download the Teacher's Guide.

    Rumplestiltskin's Starry Secret (Grades 5 and up) 32 min.
    Within the framework of the Grimm's fairy tale about a dwarf who was able to spin straw into gold, this all-new 32-minute video discusses the subject of alchemy, chemistry, the periodic table, and how stars are responsible for creating all the heavy elements in the universe. Download the Teacher's Guide.

    Stellar Extremes (Grades 7 and up) 45 min.
    From the smallest to the largest, the hottest to the coolest, from the fastest to the most bizarre, all stars have a place in our incredible universe. This program explores the dynamics of stellar interiors, encounters some of the most unusual stars, and finds out what it takes to solve stellar mysteries from light years away. Download the Teacher's Guide.

    Tour of the Electromagnetic Spectrum (Grades 7 and up) 34 min. NEW
    This NASA-produced program describes the different portions of the electromagnetic spectrum and how each wavelength – from gamma waves to radio waves – is used by astronomers to decipher the mysteries of the universe.


    Coming Soon! - Dinosaurs At Dusk (FULL DOME)

    Nature's Fury (Grades 3 and up) 42 min.  NEW 3-SCREEN VERSION
    With exciting video footage and photographs, this program explores the many types of severe weather, including tornadoes, hurricanes, thunderstorms and blizzards. Download the Teacher's Guide.



    Celebrations of Winter (All ages, but best for grades 3 and up)  42 min.
    This exciting wintertime program surrounds the audience with the sights and sounds of the holiday season and describes how people around the world celebrate winter. Download the Teacher's Guide.

    Halloween Spooktacular (Suitable for all ages)
    This laser show features music and images related to the Halloween Season.

    Winter Wonderlight (All ages)
    This laser show features music and images related to the Holiday Season.


    Various Titles of Laser Light Shows (Grades 5 and up)
    Laser shows blends animated drawings and abstract patterns drawn by multicolored laser beams to a variety of musical selections. Most are between 40 and 50 minutes in length.

    Laser Queen coming in January!

    PLEASE NOTE: Groups who choose one of our extended length laser shows cannot select a "B" show for that same time slot, since extended length laser shows run the full 60 minutes. Currently, the Cernan Center offers three such shows
        1) A Momentary Lapse of Summer (Pink Floyd)
        2) Legends of Rock
        3)Endless Photons

    ALSO NOTE: Laser light shows are produced with the teen and young adult market in mind, not children. Since pop music often echoes adult themes, these same themes often carry over to the laser shows themselves. That said, some show titles are more appropriate for school-aged groups than others. For more information about these shows (including song lists), please click here or call (708) 456-0300, Ext. 3372.



    The Friendly Stars (Preschool through 2nd grade) 10 min. NEW 3-SCREEN VERSION
    Hosted by an animated sun (named Sol), this multimedia program describes the very basics of astronomy, including stars, the sun, planets and the current season's "star pictures."

    There Once Was a Sky Full of Stars (Preschool through 2nd grade) 8 min.
    This DVD-based mini show presents this beautifully illustrated children's book by Bob Crelin (author) and Amie Ziner (illustrator), which helps children discover the magic of the night sky, the growing problem of light pollution, and what can be done to save the vanishing stars.
    Note: Printed copies of this book are for sale in the Star Store gift shop.

    AstroSmiles (Grades 3 and up) 18 min.
    This video, narrated by Space Shuttle astronauts, describes some of the lighter moments that occur on their spaceflights.
    Note: Because of the length of this show, it is possible that Q&A may need to be shortened or eliminated, depending on what "A" show this mini show is paired with.

    Field Trip to the Moon (Grades 3 and up) 20 min.
    Produced by the American Museum of Natural History, this DVD-based mini show takes an imaginary computer-generated voyage beside NASA's future Ares V rocket, which will take astronauts back to the Moon. Following launch, our rocket orbits the Earth once and then travels to the Apollo 17 landing spot on the Moon. En route, the program discusses the main components of the Ares V rocket, the ring of man-made satellites around our planet, the Earth’s magnetosphere, and several lunar features that we fly over on our way to the Taurus-Littrow landing site.
    Note: Because of the length of this show, it is possible that Q&A may need to be shortened or eliminated, depending on what "A" show this mini show is paired with.

    Skywatcher's Guide (Grades 3 and up) 15 min.
    This all-new monthly Cernan Center series combines the planetarium's star projector with projected images from the popular Abrams Sky Calendar to briefly describe the current night sky and celestial events to watch for in the real sky.

    The Last Man on the Moon: In His Own Words (Grades 3 and up) 20 min.
    This multimedia program celebrates the spaceflight achievements of Chicago-born astronaut Eugene Cernan, who holds the distinction of being the last person to leave footprints on the moon. This minishow does not include the NASA video.

    Orion (Laser Cartoon) (Grades 3 and up) 20 min. NEW!
    Produced by the same company that created Perseus and Andromeda, this laser animated program re-tells the Greek myths related to the winter constellation of Orion the Hunter.

    Perseus and Andromeda (Laser Cartoon) (Grades 3 and up) 18 min.
    This laser-animated program re-tells the Greek myths related to Perseus and Andromeda with a humorous twist.

    The Pluto Story(Grades 3 and up) 6 min. 3-SCREEN SHOW
    As of 2006, Pluto is no longer considered a major planet. Find out why in The Pluto Story.

    Powers of Ten (Grades 3 and up) 9 min.
    This video explores the relative size of things from the microscopic to the cosmic. The viewer travels from an aerial view of a man in a Chicago park to the outer limits of the universe directly above him and back down into the microscopic world contained in the man's hand.

    Laser Light Mini Shows (All ages, but best for Grades 3 and up) Lengths range from 11 - 14 min.
    Current mini laser shows include three songs. Some titles also include Laser 101, which explains how a laser works.
    For song listings, please click here.

    HST Gallery (Grades 5 and up) 16 min.
    This mini show presents over 20 spectacular deep space images taken in the past few years by the Hubble Space Telescope and a brief description from the astronomers who interpret these exciting new discoveries.

    Rumplestiltskin's Starry Secret (Mini Show) (Grades 5 and up) 10 min.
    Although this shortened version of Rumplestiltskin's Starry Secret lacks the full-length version’s detailed descriptions of the history of chemistry, the periodic table and star formation, it does describe the allure of gold, why gold can’t be created from other materials, and how stars played an important role in shaping our Earth and its inhabitants.

    Saving the Night (Grades 5 and up) 11 min.
    Visually re-produced for the DVD format, Saving the Night briefly discusses the issue of light pollution and the adverse effect that our growing civilization has on the science of astronomy and the beauty of the nighttime sky. Written and narrated by the acclaimed astronomy author and comet discoverer David Levy, Saving the Night not only describes the problem of our steadily brightening night sky, but it also mentions a few of the steps that some communities have taken to reduce light pollution, improve nighttime safety, and halt the further deterioration of the night.

    Beyond Einstein (Grades 7 and up) 14 min.
    This all-new NASA video production describes the impact of Einstein's work and our current understanding of black holes, The Big Bang, Dark Energy, time and space, and cosmology.

    "C" (Q & A)

    All shows conclude with a brief question-and-answer session, the length of which depends on the combined length of the group's chosen "A" and "B" components and the time remaining in the group's reserved time slot.

       1. Choose the program(s) you wish to see.
       2. Select the day and time you would like to visit. Include a second choice.
       3. Call the Cernan Center at (708) 456-0300, Ext. 3372.
    That's all there is to it!

    To explore some outstanding astronomy education resources on the Internet, please go to Space Links and scroll down to the "Astronomy Education" listings.

    New feature shows and minishows are added throughout the year. Please visit this page of the Cernan Center's Web site for the most up-to-date information.

    Cernan Earth and Space Center
    Triton College
    2000 North Fifth Avenue
    River Grove, IL 60171