"Carl," the Planetarium star projector
For Pre-K to Grade 1
To arrange a visit for your school group, please call (585)697-1942.
Observe and predict how the sun and moon travel across the sky. Compare and contrast day and night, the sun and the moon. Count the stars in the Big Dipper. Sing "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star" in this gentle introduction to the fun of sky watching. Length about 35 minutes..
Additional showings are available Saturday mornings, some school holidays and some additional weekdays; call (585)697-1942 for details.
NYS Learning Standards: ELA1; MST3, MST 4PS(1,2)
Click here to download a typical script (80k pdf)
Outline of the Program
Please note: Your presentation may vary slightly as needed to provide the best experience for each audience.
Your show presenter welcomes you to the Star Theater, a round room! You probably don't have a round room at home!
The dome, shaped like an upside-down cereal bowl, is our projection screen.
The big blue machine in the center of the room is our star projector, made by the Carl Zeiss company. We call it "Carl" for short. Carl has been here in the Star Theater since 1968. During our show, Carl will make stars on the dome.
With help from everyone's imagination, we turn the sky blue, add clouds and the sun (a special planetarium sun that is OK to look at as much as you want). A panorama of the city appears. We watch the sun travel across the sky from east to west, morning to afternoon. Soon, the sun sets and day changes to night.
We notice that people turn on lights when nighttime comes. The city is full of lights at night!
To see more stars, we take a bus trip out to the country, far from city lights. We see a beautiful starry sky and sing "Twinkle, twinkle, little star" together. Our friend, the green arrow, helps us find individual stars.
Some stars seem to belong together or even to make pictures in the sky. We find and count the seven stars of the Big Dipper, then we hear from our "constellation friends" Ursa Major, the Great Bear (which contains the Big Dipper), and Cassiopeia, the Queen (marked by five stars in the shape of a letter W).
We magically make time go faster and see the stars travel across the sky from east to west. Actually, we are the ones who are moving: our earth is always turning, even while we're asleep.
Looking through the window of a child's room, we see the stars move as Earth turns. We see a shooting star, or meteor, and learn that shooting stars are not really stars; they are tiny pieces of rock or dust from space that burn up in the air high above our heads.
We go back outside and find the moon. The moon appears to move across the sky during the night, because the Earth is always turning. The moon does not always look the same; it has different shapes, called phases, at different times. It takes about a month for the moon to change from a thin "banana moon" to a big round ball and back to a banana moon again.
Soon the sky begins to brighten in the east. What's going to happen next? The sun will rise.
The rising of the Planetarium sun begins a new day and brings the program to a close. Have a wonderful day, and come back to the Planetarium soon!