Programs include live star and constellation identification unless noted otherwise.
Public Program Schedule
2022-2023 Public Program Schedule
Scroll down below calendar for show descriptions.
The night sky changes with the seasons and so does our Skywatch program. This LIVE traditional star talk covers the current night sky, constellation lore, and current astronomical events.
Explore Our Universe LIVE!
Join us on the Starship Ward Beecher as we emark on a grand tour of our universe real time, with opportunities to influence where we travel and what we discover.
Mayan Archaeoastronomy: Observers of the Universe *NEW*
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.
The Ward Beecher Planetarium’s spooky and spectacular annual Halloween spectacular has been going strong since 1974! COME IN COSTUME! The pandemic gave us a chance to make it BIGGER and BETTER than ever! Great for all ages, although younger visitors might be scared of the loud music and dark.
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.
Let It Snow!
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!
Big Astronomy: People, Places & Discoveries *NEW*
Discover the impressive observatories in Chile, the people who run them and the exciting discoveries uncovered from these world-class telescopes. This program will include a presentation of the night sky as seen from the Southern Hemisphere.
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.
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.
STARS focuses on the lives of the stars, how they are born, how they die, and how human understanding of the stars has changed over time. From Native Americans to Newton, from the electromagnetic spectrum to Einstein, audiences will explore nebulae, star clusters, pulsars, black holes, and more. The program features the voice talent of Mark Hamill.
One World, One Sky: Big Bird’s Adventure
Big Bird’s Adventure begins on Sesame Street when Elmo’s friend Hu Hu Zhu visits from China. Big Bird, Elmo, and Hu Hu Zhu take viewers on an exciting discovery of the Sun, Moon, and stars. They learn about the Big Dipper and the North Star and take an imaginary trip to the Moon. Celebrate with Elmo and Hu Hu Zhu the idea that even though we live in different countries, we still share the same sky.
Please note, no star talk included.
It is our popular light and music extravaganza, presented in a fun, non-scary style, making this show ideal for all ages. COME IN COSTUME!
Legends of the Night Sky: Perseus & Andromeda
Children and adults will enjoy this animated show where Aesop the owl leads you on a light-hearted journey as you look at the Greek mythology associated with some of our constellations. This includes stories behind the mighty warrior Perseus, beautiful princess Andromeda, and Cetus the terrible sea monster.
The Alien Who Stole Christmas
Enjoy a tour of winter’s evening sky then join jolly-old Saint Nick and Mr. Freep as they explore the solar system’s planets and meet the Christmas Eve needs of their fictitious inhabitants.
Earth, Moon and Sun
Coyote has a razor sharp wit, but he’s a little confused about what he sees in the sky. Join this amusing character (adapted from American Indian oral traditions) in a fast-paced and fun show that explores lunar phases, eclipses and other puzzles. Engaging and immersive, Earth, Moon & Sun also examines how humans learn through space exploration.
Legends of the Night Sky: Orion
Aesop the owl continues his journey in a light-hearted adventure as you look at the Greek mythology associated with some of our constellations. This includes stories behind Orion the hunter, and Scorpio the scorpion!
The Little Star That Could
A little star is born, and he's average. But there's nothing wrong with being average, as our little star discovers, especially if you want to have a planet with life! The program looks at different sizes and colors of stars and our solar system.
Warren C. Young Lecture Series
A Trip to the City - A Visit to the Virgo Galaxy Cluster - Dr. Patrick Durrell
Friday November 5, 8:00 PM
The Virgo Cluster is the nearest galaxy cluster to us, making it one of the most useful laboratories we have in understanding how galaxies form and evolve. Within such dense (city-like) galactic environments, galaxies interact frequently, and the debris from these events allows us to trace the history of galaxy clusters. I will give a brief tour of the Virgo cluster, which will include results from a new and ongoing deep, wide-field imaging study (the Next Generation Virgo Cluster Survey) of the entire cluster. I will also describe searches for stars, dwarf galaxies, and globular clusters that live in the spaces between the larger galaxies in the cluster.
New discoveries from the HETDEX Project - Dark Energy, and other Buzzwords! – Dr. John Feldmeier
Friday, March 25, 8:00 PM
One of the biggest mysteries of astronomy in the 21st century is Dark Energy, a mysterious force that causes galaxies to speed away from each other. There are many exciting astronomy projects that are currently trying to understand the true nature of this mysterious force. I will discuss the most recent discoveries from the HETDEX project, which is an international Dark Energy astronomical survey, and highlight some work done by YSU undergraduate students on the project.
Join us for a magical weekend as we celebrate Harry Potter and the J.K. Rowling universe! Learn about the night sky and how it relates to the wizarding world. Test your knowledge for a chance to earn house points. Who will win this year’s house cup? Seating is first come, first seated.
So You Want to Buy a Telescope/So You Got a Telescope
Experts from the Mahoning Valley Astronomical Society (MVAS) will join us to offer help and advice to telescope owners.
So You Want to Buy a Telescope returns on Saturday, November 23 to help you make wise choices when it comes to the purchase of your own telescope.
So You Got a Telescope takes place on Saturday, January 18. People are invited to bring their new scopes (and ones that have been gathering dust) and have one-on-one time with the MVAS experts.
Both programs will be held from 3-5 p.m. Drop in anytime during the two hours.
Rock The Dome Weekend
Our popular music shows return using our Definiti Theater System to rock out! Some favorites return, plus BRAND NEW shows as well!
Visitor Appreciation Weekend
As a big THANK YOU for a great year, you get an encore: vote for any of our shows on this year’s schedule, and we will run it one more time!