Feature Shows

Approximate Length: 60 minutes

Big Astronomy: People+Places+Discoveries

Big Astronomy
Age Level: Grades 6 to 8
Area of Study: Earth and Space Sciences

To study the vastness of space, you need extra-large equipment. Join us for a quick trip to visit three world-class observatories in Chile's rugged Andes Mountains and the Atacama Desert — remote, extreme regions that have the perfect conditions for astronomical research.

Big Astronomy: People+Places+Discoveries also highlights the diverse people and variety of roles they play to make groundbreaking discoveries possible at these amazing observatories in Chile.

In the most remote locations on the planet, people are working to uncover mysteries throughout the universe… and most are not astronomers.

Big Astronomy: People+Places+Discoveries is set in Chile where the dry, dark sky and observatories’ remoteness create an ideal site to observe the universe. By the year 2022 it is expected that nearly 70% of the world’s ground-based observing infrastructure will be located there, and the US and other countries are investing billions of dollars in astronomy in Chile. Big Astronomy introduces audiences to the wide variety of personnel involved in advancing astronomical discovery. “When people think of astronomy they often imagine astronomers peering through telescopes,” says AUI President Adam Cohen. “They are unaware of the STEM village it takes to make exploration of the cosmos possible.” Big observatories today employ electrical and mechanical engineers, technicians, data analysts, machinists, heavy equipment operators, maintenance personnel, artists, cooks, and many more professionals. Each of these individuals plays an important role in making astronomical discoveries possible.

Beyond the fascinating places and people involved in astronomical research, the show includes the fruits of the research itself. “We are excited by the opportunity this project presents to both formal and informal STEM educators,” explains Tim Spuck, AUI Director of Education and Public Engagement and Principal Investigator (PI) for Big-ACT, “Astronomy excites learners of all ages. We can use the power of astronomy to help individuals understand that they can be part of amazing science and discoveries without necessarily becoming a PhD astronomer. We want every person attending the planetarium show to be able to connect the people they see to someone they know or someone they themselves can one day become.”

The Education Web Portal through includes learning activities, interviews with observatory personnel, and a schedule of live virtual sessions with those working at the observatories. 

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Cosmic Colors: An Adventure Along the Spectrum

Cosmic Colors
Age Level: Grades 4 & Up
Area of Study: Earth and Space Sciences

Discover why the sky is blue, Mars is red and why things appear the colors they do.

Then step into the invisible universe to investigate the electromagnetic energy all around us from the infrared light of a roaring fire to the x-rays emitted by a black hole.

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Teacher's Guide - Comic Colors

This downloadable teachers’ guide for is provided by the Great Plains Planetarium Association. Over the next few months, the staff of the Cernan Center will begin updating and customizing these resources for Illinois residents. If you should find faulty internet links or have suggestions, please address your comments to cernan@triton.edu.

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Dawn of the Space Age

Dawn of the Space Age
Age Level: Grades 4 & Up
Area of Study: Earth and Space Sciences, Physical Science, Social Studies

From Sputnik to the Space Shuttle and beyond, join the excitement of exploring the final frontier as we prepare for closer international cooperation and the dawn of commercial spaceflight.

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Dinosaurs at Dusk: The Origins of Flight

Dinosaurs at Dusk
Age Level: Grades 4 & Up
Area of Study: Earth Science and Life Cycles

Dinosaurs at Dusk is a whirlwind adventure back in time to explore the Earth when it was teeming with Pterosaurs and other feathered dinosaurs, the ancestors of modern-day birds.

Join Lucy and her father as they fly through the Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous eras, soaring above cliffs and canyons; all the while chasing, and sometimes running away from, a wide variety of dinosaurs.

Dinosaurs at Dusk is suitable for flight fans and dinosaur devotees of all ages, meaning children are welcome to attend.

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Dream to Fly

Dream to Fly
Age Level: All Ages
Area of Study: Earth and Space Sciences

Have you ever dreamt you could fly?

Come and discover the history, mystery, and allure of flight when the Cernan Earth and Space Center presents Dream to Fly.

Guided by Leonardo da Vinci, the Montgolfier brothers, the Wright brothers and others, visitors will witness success and failure as these pioneers seek to overcome the immense challenges required to make their dreams a reality. Dream to Fly is a poetic story about the development of flight through the ages presented in an innovative way.

Dream to Fly highlights the most important milestones en route to humanity conquering the skies - from technological breakthroughs to our perceptions of flying itself from gliding among the clouds to reaching for the stars.

Produced by The Heavens of Copernicus Productions in Warsaw, Poland, Dream to Fly's rich fulldome visuals, beautiful music, and poetic narrative makes this an exceptional immersive experience.

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Forward! To the Moon!

Forward! To the Moon!
Age Level: All Ages
Area of Study: Earth and Space Sciences

Forward! To the Moon! introduces NASA’s efforts to send both humans and robots to the Moon and Mars. NASA’s 21st century Artemis program, named after the Greek moon Goddess and twin of Apollo, 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. Kari Byron, from Crash Test World and MythBusters, launches us on a journey beyond Earth toward a sustainable future in space.

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From Earth to the Universe

From Earth to the Universe
Age Level: Grades 6 & Up
Area of Study: Earth and Space Sciences

Take a journey of celestial discovery from the theories of ancient Greek astronomers to today’s most powerful telescopes, as humanity strives to grasp our place within this vast cosmos.

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Habitat Earth: Living in a Connected World

Habitat Earth
Age Level: Grades 3 & Up
Area of Study: Earth and Space Sciences, Life Cycles

Dive below the ocean’s surface, travel beneath the forest floor and journey to new heights to witness the intricate intersection between human and ecological networks.

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Nine (Eight) Planets and Counting...

Nine Planets and Counting
Age Level: Grades 4 to 6
Area of Study: Earth and Space Sciences

How many planets are there in our Solar System?

Take a tour to explore the variety of objects that orbit our Sun.

And just what is a planet, anyway?

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Education Guide - Nine Planets and Counting

This downloadable educator guide is provided by the Sudekum Planetarium at the Adventure Science Center in Nashville, Tennessee. Over the next few months, the staff of the Cernan Center will begin updating and customizing these resources for Illinois residents. If you should find faulty internet links or have suggestions, please address your comments to cernan@triton.edu.

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One World, One Sky: Big Bird's Adventure

One World, One Sky
Age Level: Pre-K to Grade 1
Area of Study: Earth and Space Sciences

Join Big Bird, Elmo and Hu Hu Zhu, their friend from China, as they learn about the Big Dipper, the North Star and the Moon.

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Teacher's Guide - One World, One Sky

This downloadable teacher's guide is provided by the Sudekum Planetarium at the Adventure Science Center in Nashville, Tennessee. Over the next few months, the staff of the Cernan Center will begin updating and customizing these resources for Illinois residents. If you should find faulty internet links or have suggestions, please address your comments to cernan@triton.edu.

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Our Place in Space

Our Place in Space
Age Level: Grades 1 to 3 *
Area of Study: Earth and Space Sciences

Discover the cause of day and night, learn about the Sun, the Earth, our Solar System and the stars while solving a crossword puzzle about the sky.

Second semester third graders often prefer Rusty Rocket's Last Blast.

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Education Guide - Our Place in Space

This downloadable educator guide is provided by the Sudekum Planetarium at the Adventure Science Center in Nashville, Tennessee. Over the next few months, the staff of the Cernan Center will begin updating and customizing these resources for Illinois residents. If you should find faulty internet links or have suggestions, please address your comments to cernan@triton.edu.

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Phantom of the Universe: The Haunt for Dark Matter

Phantom of the Universe
Age Level: Grades 6 to 8
Area of Study: Earth and Space Sciences

From protons racing through the world’s largest particle collider in Europe to up-close views of the Big Bang to nearly a mile below ground experiment in South Dakota, audiences of all ages will explore and join the search for the dark matter.

Narrated by Tilda Swinton

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Rusty Rocket's Last Blast

Rusty Rocket's Last Blast
Age Level: Grades 1 to 4
Area of Study: Earth and Space Sciences, Physical Science

Join Rusty Rocket as he leads a class of rookies on their first tour of the solar system to explain basic rocket science and the great distances between the planets.

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Education Guide - Rusty Rocket's Last Blast

This downloadable educator guide is provided by the Sudekum Planetarium at the Adventure Science Center in Nashville, Tennessee. Over the next few months, the staff of the Cernan Center will begin updating and customizing these resources for Illinois residents. If you should find faulty internet links or have suggestions, please address your comments to cernan@triton.edu.

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Seeing: A Photon's Journey Across Space, Time and Mind

Seeing
Age Level: Grades 3 & Up
Area of Study: Earth and Space Sciences

Follow a photon of light across the galaxy and into the eye of a young stargazer.

Once inside the eye, the audience will explore how the human eye works before taking a ride on the optic nerve. Images of people, wildlife, landscapes, and outer space from around the globe tell the story of the photon's journey before we ‘see’ the image ourselves.

Narrated by Neil Tyson

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Sky Tonight

Sky Tonight
Age Level: Grades 4 & Up
Area of Study: Earth and Space Sciences

This live interactive program starts with a tour of the current night sky, but where we go next is up to you.

Explore the planets, delve into ancient Greek myths or travel across the universe. We'll go wherever the questions take us.

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Space Aliens: Looking for Life in the Universe

Space Aliens
Age Level: Grades 4 & Up
Area of Study: Earth and Space Sciences

Join our alien “experts” – Hopeful and Skeptical – as they try to convince each other whether or not life exists beyond the Earth.

Follow their astrobiology arguments from the ocean floor to a journey across the galaxy!

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Stars of the Pharaohs

Stars of the Pharaohs
Age Level: Grades 5 & Up
Area of Study: Earth and Space Sciences, Social Studies

Discover how ancient Egyptians studied the skies to tell time, create calendars and align gigantic monuments.

Explore the connections they felt with the stars and other astronomical phenomena.

Narrated by John Rhys-Davies

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Education Guide - Stars of the Pharaohs

This downloadable educator guide is provided by the Sudekum Planetarium at the Adventure Science Center in Nashville, Tennessee. Over the next few months, the staff of the Cernan Center will begin updating and customizing these resources for Illinois residents. If you should find faulty internet links or have suggestions, please address your comments to cernan@triton.edu.

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STARS: Powerhouses of the Universe

STARS
Age Level: Grades 4 to 8
Area of Study: Earth and Space Sciences

Witness the explosive end of massive stars and the dramatic formation of others.

Use the electromagnetic spectrum to see how stars create and release the energy that powers the universe.

Narrated by Mark Hamill

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Education Guide - STARS: The Powerhouses of the Universe

This downloadable educator guide is provided by the Sudekum Planetarium at the Adventure Science Center in Nashville, Tennessee. Over the next few months, the staff of the Cernan Center will begin updating and customizing these resources for Illinois residents. If you should find faulty internet links or have suggestions, please address your comments to cernan@triton.edu.

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THE SUN: Our Living Star

SUN
Age Level: All Ages
Area of Study: Earth and Space Sciences

Follow the story of our nearest star – our planet’s powerhouse.

The Sun IS the source of all energy that drives Earth’s winds and weather and makes the very existence of life possible – and usually comfortable.

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Totality: Explore the Wonder of Eclipses

Totality
Age Level: All Ages
Area of Study: Earth and Space Sciences

Totality is totally about eclipses – from lunar to total solar. Examine how and why eclipses occur and what happens when they do.

Explore how a total solar eclipse in the past proved general relativity and when, where and how to safely observe an eclipse.

Discover the unique human experience of standing in the shadow of the Moon.

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Two Small Pieces of Glass: The Amazing Telescope

Two Small Pieces of Glass: The Amazing Telescope
Age Level: Grades 4 & Up
Area of Study: Earth and Space Sciences

More than 400 years ago, Galileo was the first person to use a simple telescope to explore the night sky.

Trace the history of the telescope from Galileo's stunning discoveries to the modern day and take a brief tour of tonight's evening sky.

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Wonderful Sky

Wonderful Sky
Age Level: Pre-K to Grade 1
Area of Study: Earth and Space Sciences

This live, participatory program allows your youngest students to explore the daytime and nighttime skies in the unique, multi-sensory environment of the planetarium.

Education Guide - Wonderful Sky

This downloadable educator guide is provided by the Sudekum Planetarium at the Adventure Science Center in Nashville, Tennessee. Over the next few months, the staff of the Cernan Center will begin updating and customizing these resources for Illinois residents. If you should find faulty internet links or have suggestions, please address your comments to cernan@triton.edu.

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World 2 War

World 2 War
Age Level: Grades 5 & Up
Area of Study: Earth and Space Sciences, Social Studies, World History

World War II began in 1939.

World 2 War combines fulldome, cinematic battle scenes with informative overviews and historic imagery.

World 2 War sets the stage for the conflict and puts the audience in the middle of World War II’s most crucial events!

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