High School & Adult Programs
Below are a our programs suitable for grades 9 - 12 and adults.
Ohio Science Standards and other supplemental materials are included where applicable.
All programs include a live star and constellation identification unless stated otherwise.
Bad Astronomy: Myths & Misconceptions
Were the Apollo visits to the moon actually a hoax? Have aliens landed on Earth? Can you tell your future by the stars? Prepare to debunk and tackle pseudoscience head-on with Bad Astronomy: Myths and Misconceptions.
Based on the popular book and website of the same name, Bad Astronomy offers good mix of the serious and the silly to teach about the cosmos. Join the "Bad Astronomer" Phil Plait as he stars in and narrates this critical look at popular myths and misconceptions to show audiences how science can be used to evaluate questionable claims. From the Detroit Science Center and Cranbrook Institute of Science.
Broad topics include misconceptions about science topics are prevelent; some information is designed deliberately to mislead, other information is for entertainment only; conspiracy theories; source of zodiacal constellations and horoscopes.
OH State Science Standards for Bad Astronomy
Read his Bad Astronomy blog at Slate.com
Check out his books "Bad Astronomy" and "Death from the Skies!: These are the Ways the World Will End . . ."
One of the most-asked questions about the universe is, “How big is it?” It’s also one of the hardest questions to answer!
BIG has been produced to tackle this question by taking you out on an immersive journey to the farthest reaches of the universe that we are currently able to observe. Along the way, you’ll be introduced to the concept of the speed of light, and see a huge range of amazing celestial objects.
Unlike any show you have seen before, BIG combines a light-hearted storytelling style with computer animation, stop-motion claymation and a powerful surround sound musical score to bring a really big subject down to Earth.
BIG, produced by NSC Creative, is narrated by Sir Richard Attenborough (Jurassic Park).
OH State Science Standards for Big
Black Holes: The Other Side of Infinity
Narrated by Academy-Award nominated actor Liam Neeson, Black Holes: The Other Side of Infinity brings the current science of black holes to the dome screen. Supported by grants from NASA's high-energy GLAST telescope project and the National Science Foundation, this cutting-edge production features high-resolution, animated visualizations of cosmic phenomena, working with data generated by computer simulations. We'll bring you striking, immersive animations of the formation of the early universe, star birth and death, the collision of giant galaxies, and a simulated flight to a super massive black hole lurking at the center of our own Milky Way Galaxy. From the Denver Museum of Nature and Science.
Broad topics: humans couldn't understand the universe until technology allowed study of light from stars; light from very distant objects is a "look back" in time because of limit of speed of light; astronomical data can be visualized to aid understanding
OH Science Standards for Black Holes
*NEW* Big Astronomy: People, Places, Discoveries
Big Astronomy or Astronomia a Gran Escala shares the story of the people and places who make big astronomy and big science happen. A bilingual planetarium show takes visitors to the extreme sites where astronomy happens in the most extreme environments and with some of the most interesting people. Explore world-class observatories, learn why Chile is an ideal environment for astronomy, and meet some of the diverse people who make discoveries possible.
OH State Science Standards for Big Astronomy
Chasing the Ghost Particle
Deep in the ice at the heart of Antarctica, IceCube, the biggest and strangest detector in the world, waits for mysterious messengers from the cosmos.
Scientists are using tiny and elusive particles called neutrinos to explore the most extreme places in the universe. These ghostly neutrinos give us an exclusive way to study powerful cosmic engines like exploding stars and black holes.
A Ward Beecher Planetarium original production!
There are places where the night sky has no constellations. No Orion, no Big Dipper, nothing but a few lonely, far away stars and faint, ghostly patches of light.
Most stars lie within the crowded boundaries of galaxies, travelling with their brothers and sisters in a vast galactic family. But some find themselves on their own, deep within voids between the galaxies. These are the Cosmic Castaways.
Produced here at WBP, this program is based partially on research by YSU’s astrophysicists Dr. John Feldmeier and Dr. Patrick Durrell.
Topics covered: galaxies and galaxy types, gravity and its effects in the universe
Cosmic Colors will take you on a wondrous journey across the entire electromagnetic spectrum. Discover the many reasons for color—like why the sky is blue and why Mars is red. Take a tour within a plant leaf and journey inside the human eye. Investigate x-rays by voyaging to a monstrous black hole and then back at your doctor’s office. You will even see the actual color of a dinosaur—based on recent evidence. Get ready for an amazing adventure under a rainbow of cosmic light!
Produced by the Great Lakes Planetarium Association.
Cosmic Recipe: Setting the Periodic Table
The famous astronomer Carl Sagan once said: “If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe.” Though that may sound crazy, Sagan was onto something BIG! Want to know what? Pull up a chair at our Planetarium’s Periodic Table and learn the cosmic recipes that created everything in our world – even us! Discover how the Big Bang and the stars have cooked up the everyday elements we interact with every day—like the calcium in our teeth, the silicon in our smartphones, and even the carbon in our apple pies. Explore the world of chemistry—the protons, neutrons and electrons! See how tiny atoms relate to the mammoth stars! Connect the physical worlds of the small and large in this engaging and inspiring show.
Cosmic Origins Spectrograph
Cosmic Origins Spectrograph (COS) was an instrument installed on the Hubble Space Telescope in 2009 during Servicing Mission 4. This show covers the basics of spectroscopy at a high level, and touches on the processing of galactic and extragalactic gas.
Optional light demo using diffraction gratings available.
Some 80% of the mass of the universe is missing. Dark explains how we are looking for it. 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 Earth is a living, dynamic planet. How did it get that way? What happens if our global climate changes?
This immersive program takes the audience above Earth to look at how our atmosphere moves; below the ocean to seek how currents move and how the carbon chain begins; and to Venus, the perfect example of a climate system gone wrong.
Specifically designed to address NGSS for 7th grade, Earth and Space Sciences. Topics include cycles and patterns of Earth and the moon, specifically hydrologic cycle, patterns in the atmosphere and oceans, and relationships between thermal energy and currents.
Expanded View introduces the electromagnetic spectrum and multi-wavelength observation with examples from three great orbiting telescopes: Hubble, Spitzer, and Chandra.
Audiences learn how images are captured and what the colors tell us about composition of deep sky objects. Expanded View is intended to illustrate the importance of multi-wavelength observation by describing how NASAs Great Observatories work together.
Topics include electromagnetic spectrum, how astronomers use light to study the universe, scientific ways of knowing, process of science
Explore Our Universe LIVE!
Join us on the Starship Ward Beecher as we embark on a grand tour of our universe real time, with opportunities to influence where we travel and what we discover.
Throughout Earth's violent history, impacts from comets and asteroids have mercilessly shaped its surface. The ancient barrage continues today; from harmless meteors - those brilliant streaks in the night sky, to mountain sized boulders wandering perilously close to Earth. Terrifying and majestic, these invaders from space are capable of utter destruction yet they have delivered life-giving water and most of the organic materials necessary for life.
Features the stunning artwork of Joe Tucciarone, YSU alum and noted space artist, and music by Troy McClellan, another YSU alum and planetarium student worker.
First and Farthest
From the first rockets to the first man on the moon, “First and Farthest” celebrates humanity’s great accomplishments in the Space Race. This show will bring back memories for those who have experienced the Space Race, and will inspire new generations to keep exploring our universe.
Did you know, it has been over 50 years since humans first stepped on the moon? And that it's been 42 years since the last footstep was left?
Footsteps explores the myths and lore of the moon and the history leading up to the triumphant accomplishment of Neil Armstrong’s footsteps on the moon. This classic program was originally produced at the Hansen Planetarium in Salt Lake City and has been newly digitized by the Ward Beecher staff.
From Earth to the Universe
The night sky, both beautiful and mysterious, has been the subject of campfire stories, ancient myths and awe for as long as there have been people. "From Earth to the Universe" takes the audience out to the colorful birthplaces and burial grounds of stars, and still furher out, beyond the Milky Way to the unimaginable immesity of a myriad galaxies.
Journey to a Billion Suns
Journey to a Billion Suns tells the exciting, untold story of mapping the stars. It compiles ancient history with scientific evolution and thrilling moments of an almost failed space mission. It takes you on a fascinating journey through the Milky Way with all its stars, nebulae and multiple features.
Let it Snow (available in December)
A holiday music show celebrating the winter season. Artistic impressions of popular winter holiday music come to life on the dome transporting the entire family to a magical wonderland of music and light. Experience bells and reindeer, presents and cookies, snow and nutcrackers in colorful spectacles of fun!
Moons: Worlds of Mystery
When you consider the solar system, you often think of the Sun and its planets. But what about moons? What role do they play? Delve into what they look like and how they contribute to our knowledge of the solar system in Moons: Worlds of Mystery! It explores hundreds of these known satellites throughout the solar system, orbiting five other planets and even some asteroids and Kuiper Belt objects.
We will join Darwin on his voyage with the HMS Beagle to the Galapagos Islands where he was inspired to develop his later theory of transmutation by natural selection.
From the comfort of Down House in Kent, Darwin himself will explain the mechanism of natural selection to the audience, and support it by showing many beautiful examples in nature.
The thrill of a scientific discovery, the adventure of science and the beauty of nature are central in this show. This program is a joint presentation of YSU’s Department of Physics and Astronomy and the Department of Biology.
NOTE: The extended version of Natural Selection includes DNA, genetic mutations, and sexual selection. Due to its extended length, a star identification program may not be included.
*NEW* Mayan Archaeoastronomy
A unique planetarium show intertwining science and mythology, transporting the viewer on a poetic journey describing the way Mayans viewed and understood the Universe. The show includes a tour of six Mayan temples: San Gervasio, Chichen Itzá, Uxmal, Edzná, Palenque and Bonampak. The importance of the orientation of the temples in relation to the movements of the Sun, Moon and Venus is vividly depicted.
Nightlights (available in October)
The Ward Beecher Planetarium’s spooky and spectacular annual Halloween spectacular has been going strong since 1974! Updated every year with new lights and visuals. Great for all ages, although younger visitors might be scared of the loud music and dark.
NOTE: No live star and constellation indentification lecture offered with this show.
Oasis in Space
Take a beautiful journey through the solar system and beyond in search of water – and water worlds like our own planet Earth. Oasis in Space incorporates the latest results of astronomical research and exploration and offers a new look at water, that simple mixture of hydrogen and oxygen that seems to be the key for all life on Earth.
One Day... On Mars
Join our expedition to Mars and enjoy a thrilling immersive experience. You’ll dive into the depths of seemingly bottomless canyons and brave the violent winds that sweep across the Red Planet’s icy dunes. “One Day … on Mars” will take you to a world that mankind could well visit in just a few decades in our ongoing search for life
Produced by Mirage3D and Koenig Films, “SEEING!” follows a photon’s creation and journey across the galaxy to a young stargazer’s eye. The viewer follows the photon into the girl’s eye, learning the structures of the eye and their functions prior to taking a ride on the optic nerve. “Seeing!” is narrated by Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson, American astrophysicist, cosmologist, and author.
Sky Wars: Battles of Discovery
In this Planetarium program, follow the struggles as new discoveries alter our view of Earth and its place in the universe. Witness the connections and conflicts between astronomy and astrology. See how the Earth went from a flat place to a round world -- from a static, motionless home to a spinning, orbiting planet! Finally, voyage into the galaxy to glimpse how future discoveries might start new battles about the sky above.
Sizing Up Space
Distances in space are difficult to grasp. We really can't comprehend distances much beyond the orbit of Pluto, so how can we wrap our heads around galaxies that are billions of light years away?
Sizing Up Space is an introduction to distances in the universe, all based on the time it takes light to travel (186,000 miles per second).
A nice introduction to the program Big or as an add-on to any planetarium program.
Every star has a story. Some are as old as time, faint and almost forgotten. Others live short lives and end in powerful explosions. New stars are created every day, born of vast clouds of gas and dust. Through every phase of their existence, stars release the energy that powers the universe.
This fulldome program features the voice talent of Mark Hamill (known for his noable role in Star Wars as Luke Skywalker) and stunning immersive animation. A production of the Sudekum Planetarium at the Adventure Science Center in Nashville and National Space Centre.
*NEW* The Sun: Our Living Star
The Sun has shone on our world for four and a half billion years. It is our nearest star and our planet’s powerhouse, the source of the energy that drives our winds, our weather and all life. Discover the secrets of our star in this planetarium show and experience never-before-seen images of the Sun’s violent surface in this visually striking planetarium show about the most important star in our lives.
This program is all about eclipses – from lunar to total solar. We cover how they occur and what happens when they do. We look back to the proof of general relativity and look forward to upcoming eclipses and where to witness them. Our production includes a variety of wonderful styles – from spectacular space environments to humorous pop-up books. A very special part of the show relates, in a very human way, what happens when you are caught in the shadow of the Moon and the Sun is plunged into a total solar eclipse. Your audience will love this program. And so will your audience of most any age.
Two Small Pieces of Glass
Learn how the telescope has helped us understand our place in space and how telescopes continue to expand our understanding of the universe in this International Year of Astronomy program. We’ll explore the Galilean moons, Saturn’s rings, and the spiral structure of galaxies and learn about the discoveries of Galileo, Huygens, Newton, Hubble and many others.
Produced to engage and appeal to audiences of all ages, Two Small Pieces of Glass traces the history of the telescope from Galileo’s modifications to a child’s spyglass—using two small pieces of glass—to the launch of NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope and the future of astronomy.
Undiscovered Worlds: The Search Beyond Our Sun
Through the discovery of exoplanets — the hundreds of planets that have been found orbiting stars beyond the Sun — we have learned that our solar system is not alone in the universe and we have had to redefine our understanding of planets and solar systems.
OH Science Standards for Undiscovered Worlds
What Are Constellations?
An original production of the Ward Beecher Planetarium.
Our constellations mainly come from the Greeks, so why do they have Latin names? And what’s up with those star names, anyway? This show will look at where our 88 “official” constellations came from, which leads us on a journey through the history of astronomy.