About our Planetarium
Whether addressing the smallest aspects of Earth’s biosphere or the most unimaginably massive objects in our universe, Framingham State University’s high-definition, digital planetarium is a powerful and effective catalyst for learning. The standard planetarium program includes one fulldome film (see list at right) and a 30-minute live planetarium presentation.
School groups may schedule just a visit to the planetarium, or as an accompaniment to a Challenger Learning Center mission. The planetarium program for groups that are also doing a CLC mission is typically about 1.5 hours and may include additional interactive learning components and discussion. Also, these groups will be shown a fulldome film (Oasis in Space or Habitat Earth) specifically chosen to complement the mission experience. Groups that are not participating in a CLC mission may choose from our selection of films. If you are interested in bringing a school group, complete our program request form.
Out-Of-School time groups can enjoy the same integrated learning experience as K-12 school groups (see above), or work with planetarium staff to create a program that addresses the specific needs of science clubs, scout groups, or other community-based organizations. If you are interested in bringing your group, complete our program request form.
Members of Framingham State University community (students, faculty, and staff) have many opportunities to experience the planetarium. All members of our community and their families are welcome at our public planetarium programs and other special events. Students and faculty may also visit the planetarium as a part of a course. Finally, students clubs and organizations, academic departments, and staff groups may schedule a program in the planetarium and/or Challenger Learning Center. Click here to begin planning your visit.
Free planetarium programs for the general public are offered monthly. These presentations typically address a central theme, and may feature a fulldome film, special guest speakers and more. Find more information and dates for upcoming events here.
Fulldome Feature Films
Water: our most precious resource. Without it, life could not exist on our planet. Is the reverse also true? If we search for water, will we also find life? Join us as we explore our solar system and discover what makes our world stand out among the Sun’s family of planets. Stunning imagery will captivate you as we journey to, and sometimes even below, the surfaces of our neighbor worlds to discover whether or not life might be possible beyond our home planet.
Recommended for: ages 7+
Length: 24 minutes
Note: This film will be shown to groups participating in the Expedition Mars mission.
Plunge below the ocean’s surface to explore the dynamic relationships found in deep ocean ecosystems; dig beneath the forest floor to see how Earth’s tallest trees rely on tiny fungi to survive; and soar to new heights to witness the intricate intersection between human and ecological networks.
Narrated by Frances McDormand, Habitat Earth features stunning visualizations of both biological and human-built networks (and of how they intersect), taking show-goers on an incredible, immersive journey through the interconnectedness of life on Earth.
Recommended for: ages 10+
Length: 25 minutes
Note: This film will be shown to groups who are participating in the Earth Odyssey mission.
Humans have long imagined exotic and intriguing worlds beyond our solar system. However, in recent years, science fiction has become science reality. Undiscovered Worlds reveals the methods used by astronomers to identify these alien wanderers, and explores the idea of what it means to be in a habitable zone around a star.
Recommended for: ages 12+
Length: 27 minutes
Giant telescopes have opened humanity’s eyes to a vast universe of glowing stars and galaxies. But as these instruments became more advanced, astronomers began to suspect there was something else out there that even their telescopes couldn’t see: dark matter. Join us for an introduction to one of the most exciting areas in current physics research. Phantom of the Universe is a fulldome film produced in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and CERN, home of the Large Hadron Collider. The show will reveal the early discoveries of Fritz Zwicky and Vera Rubin, which first hinted at the existence of dark matter. From there,you will journey to Large Hadron Collider at CERN, speeding alongside particles as they collide in visually stunning explosions of light and sound, and learn how scientists around the world are collaborating to find answers to the many questions surrounding dark matter. Phantom of the Universe features narration by Academy-Award winning actress Tilda Swinton and sound effects by Skywalker Sound.
Recommended for: high school and above
Length: 28 minutes
Two Small Pieces of Glass: The Amazing Telescope follows two students as they interact with an astronomer at a local star party. Along the way, the students learn the history of the telescope from Galileo’s modifications to a child’s spyglass — using two small pieces of glass — to the launch of the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope and the future of astronomy. Aiming to engage and appeal to audiences of all ages, the show explores the wonder and discovery made by astronomers throughout the last 400 years.
Recommended for: children ages 7-13 and their families
Length: 23 minutes
We may have additional fulldome films, videos, clips, or other assets not listed here. If you are interested in exploring a particular topic, get in touch with us and we’ll help you plan your visit.
It is also possible to use our space for screenings of standard-format (non-fulldome) films as well as lectures, presentations, etc.
Live Planetarium Presentations
Visitors can participate in a live exploration of the wonders of the night sky, led by one of our experienced planetarium presenters. With our digital planetarium system we can project a realistic night sky as seen from any location on Earth, at any time, past, present or future. We also have the ability to “fly” audiences to other planets in our solar system and beyond!
Visitors typically pair a 30-minute live night-sky presentation with one of our 25-minute feature films, but, with enough notice, we are happy to develop a custom program based on your needs.