History of the Planetarium About the Shows Calendar of Events Science Days

About the Shows

Please see the Calendar of Events for the dates when a particular show is playing.

The Search for Life in the Universe

The Search for Life in the Universe

In 1960, astronomer Frank Drake used a radio telescope in Green Bank, West Virginia to listen to two nearby stars. He heard nothing interesting, but the idea of searching for life beyond Earth was born.

Fifty years of searching for signals and occasional broadcasting of messages has not detected any transmissions that require intelligent alien authors. Either intelligent life is much more rare or short-lived than we expected or we are not looking in the right places with the right tools.

The Search For Life In The Universe takes a fresh look at this fifty-year-old question, looking forward from the big bang, in search of those special places that might harbor life, including all of the planets in our solar system. It's a beautiful scenic tour of our universe through the eyes of astronomers looking for clues about the origin of life and the development of intelligence.

The vistas are breathtaking from stellar birth clouds like the Orion and Trifid Nebulas to the death throes of Eta Carinae and the mysterious surfaces of nearby planets, their moons and rings. Join the search and enjoy the adventure.

Life In The Universe is partially funded though a NASA public outreach grant directed by Dr. George Fox, Department of Biology and Biochemistry, University of Houston.

2012: Mayan Prophecies

2012: Mayan Prophecies

Explore The Prophecies Of The Mayan Astronomers! Visit the Classic Mayan cities of Uxmal, Chichen Itza, Tikal, and Palenque to discover how the Maya aligned their temples to watch their sky gods and used interlocking calendars to record the past and predict the future.

Explore pyramids towering above the rainforest, designed as observatories to follow the sun. Experience the apocalypse of the Maya and discover how our fate in 2012 may be foretold in Mayan Prophecies. Did they really predict the "end of the world"???

Produced by the Houston Museum Of Natural Science.

We Choose Space!

We Choose Space!

We Choose Space!

WE CHOOSE SPACE! is a planetarium show for audiences of all ages who dream of space and wonder about human spaceflight after Shuttle. It's a show filled with real adventures for the near frontier. Positive, possible, and exciting -- this is a promise we can make to our children, our future astronauts.

It has been created by the Houston Museum of Natural Science, Home Run Pictures, and Tietronix with scientific oversight by Rice University. Astronauts Scott Parazinsky, Tom Jones and Gene Cernan, and veteran space reporter Walter Cronkite are your tour guides on this adventure to the completed International Space Station and to the past and future moon.

See more about the show here.

Night Sky Tour

The Planetarium dome in action.



Come see what's up in the night sky, including the constellations of the season any planets currently visible. These tours use the planetarium star projector to bring you to the sky, regardless of the weather. This is a great way to get started in astronomy.

Saturday Morning Kid's Show

Dinosaur Prophecy


For younger audiences! Take a quick tour of the nighttime sky followed by full-dome animations appropriate for youngsters. Titles include Dinosaur Prophecy, Earth's Wild Ride, Microcosm and Space Elevator: It's About Time.

Skywatchers of Africa


“Skywatchers of Africa” tells the story of a number of cultures in Africa and their relationship to the sky. The Dogon people of Mali, the nomadic Tuareg, and the ancient Egyptians are highlighted in this beautiful, enlightening show.

Produced by the Adler Museum Planetarium, this show lasts for approximately 30 minutes.

The Planets


"The Planets" takes audiences on a tour of our solar system, explaining how our solar system and its planets formed, why things rotate around the sun in the ways they do, and looks at planets that have been discovered around other stars. This show was produced by the Southeastern Planetarium Association and is narrated by Kate Mulgrew (Captain Janeway of "Star Trek: Voyager").

This multimedia show goes into planetary science in depth but is very accessible for audiences from 5th grade and older.

Spirits from the Sky, Thunder on the Land


This show tells many of the stories from the first Native American astronomers. Many of the legends of the Pawnee come alive, showing how they viewed the sky and used the sky to help regulate the daily and yearly rhythms of their lives.

Produced by the Adler Museum Planetarium, this show lasts for approximately 30 minutes.

In My Backyard

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Produced by the Calgary Science Centre this show is designed specifically for kids 4-7 years old. This show tells about some of the things normally seen in peoples' back yards including birds and flowers, the changing of the seasons, prominent constellations, and the sun, moon and stars. The reasons for the things like the changing of the seasons, the phases of the moon, and the motions of the sun and stars are introduced.

This show addresses many of the Virginia SOLs for these ages, and lasts about 22 minutes. It is narrated by children's entertainer Fred Penner, and includes three original songs performed by Fred.


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You can't travel through the depths of space to find out more about Mars, but you can do the next best thing--visit the Radford University Planetarium to see MarsQuest. MarsQuest examines the history of the Red Planet, from its naming for a god of war, through the conjectures about life on its surface, and toward the future of its exploration.

The show is narrated by Patrick Stewart, a.k.a. Jean-Luc Picard of Star Trek: The Next Generation, and lasts for 40 minutes. "MarsQuest" is produced by Loch Ness Productions.

Stardate: Ancient Horizons


Produced by the Science Museum of Virginia, StarDate and the MacDonald Observatory of the University of Texas at Austin. This program presents the Egyptian view of order and the cosmos, with information on mythology and constellations, the creation of the calendar, and a struggle involving the concept of the Sun.

StarDate radio has been broadcast since 1977 and is the longest-running science feature in the United States. StarDate is heard on more than 250 radio stations throughout the country.

This fast-paced show lasts for 23 minutes and addresses a number of Virginia SOLs in grades 4-7.

Light Years from Andromeda


From Loch Ness Productions, "Light Years" chronicles the 2 million year journey of a ray of light as it travels from the Andromeda galaxy to our own. The course of our planet's history during this journey is given concurrently.

The show is narrated by Michael Dorn, a.k.a. Commander Worf of Star Trek: The Next Generation, and lasts for 30 minutes. "Light Years" is produced by Loch Ness Productions.

'Tis the Season

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From Loch Ness Productions, " 'Tis the Season" describes the legends associated with the stars that appear during the Christmas season, including the Star of Bethlehem. Jolly Ol' Saint Nick, holiday lights and candles. Presents and festivals are also explored in this festive show.

This 35-minutes show is narrated by Noah Adams of NPR's "All Things Considered."



Schedule your group for a show.

If you have any questions about the planetarium, please contact Dr. Rhett Herman at (540) 831-5441 (office phone), (540) 831-5652 (the Department of Physics), rherman@radford.edu, or through Dr. Herman's webpage.