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What's Playing in the Planetarium

Click on the title tabs below to see some of the shows we present at the Planetarium.

NOTE: Some of the shows descriptions are very brief if you have any questions please email me ( )

Some of our presentations are for special events and are not included in this list.  Also, some of our reservation shows are tailored to the audiences requests. 



The Great Boat

Argos, Vela, Carina

Jason travelled on a ship called the Argos and that was the source of the name of his crew, the Argonauts.  For many years it was the largest constellation in the southern sky.  It has been split into four smaller constellations, representing different sections of the boat.  Only small portions of it are visible from Nebraska so we are travelling in the planetarium to another section of the world.

Time 25 Minutes
Grade K-8
Part 2 Math of Origami

Nebraska Sky Tour - Winter

Nebraska Sky Tour - Winter

Winter constellations in Nebraska are some of the most popular.  From our vantage point we can see Orion, Gemini, Canis Major, Canis Minor, Auriga, Lepus, and Eridanus.  You don't recognize some of those names?  What if I told you that they are home to some fun to observe objects.

Premiering at KSTM's 7th and 8th grade Science Fair.



Interstellar Boundary Explorer

Where does the solar system end and the rest of the Milky Way begin?  Take a journey with two students to find out where is the edge of the solar system.

Enlightening Lightning

Sparky the electron is looking for an atom family to join but in the mean time he is educating a family on lightning.

This show covers several of our 4th through 6th grade Weather unit standards. 

  • Water Cycle
  • Precipitation
  • Fronts
  • Lightning
  • Watch vs. Warning

It also covers the scouts Weather badge starter and belt loops.

From the producers:

About Enlightening Lightning
Funded by the National Science Foundation, we have developed a show for the planetarium at Tarleton State University in Stephenville, TX. The 40 minute production is on lightning and focuses on both the science behind thunderstorms as well has how to stay safe and avoid danger. Our primary audience is 6‐8th graders.
The show begins with a family preparing to go on a hike at the local State Park. The family has a mom, dad, and two children ‐ a boy in 6th grade and a girl in 9th grade. As they are eating breakfast, the morning weather report comes on predicting storms for the afternoon. The family decided to go on the hike despite the weather prediction.
The family is followed throughout their day as they hike, eat lunch, talk with a lifeguard, seek shelter when a storm develops, and return home to review their day. Throughout the story line, an animated character, Sparky, keeps appearing to discuss various scientific points. Sparky is an electron who is looking for his perfect molecule family. Sparky presents the science facts in a fun, easy to understand way. More science facts and narration are covered by Rebecca Miller of NBC station KXAS in Dallas‐Fort Worth TX. Ms. Miller discusses more of the details behind cloud development and safety issues. She also appears on the family's TV in both the morning and evening to discuss the weather.
This is a joint effort between the planetarium at Tarleton State University and the Visualization Lab at Texas A&M in College Station, TX. Supporting our efforts is the National Storms Laboratory in Norman, Oklahoma as well as the Department of Atmospheric Sciences at Texas A&M and KXAS.

Lightning FAQs
Taken from Understanding Lightning by Martin Uman

  • Why did Ben Franklin fly the kite?
    • Ben Franklin sought to prove that lightning was electrical. His goal was to show that the clouds are electrically charged, for if so, then lightning was as well.
    • During a thunderstorm in 1752, sparks jumped from a key tied to the bottom of the kite string to the knuckles of his hand, thus verifying his theory.
  • How does a lightning rod work?
    • Lightning rods do not discharge clouds and thus prevent lightning. Rather they only serve to route lightning harmlessly to the ground. This way they divert lightning when it is 10 to 100 yards away.
    • “The charge flowing between a lightning rod and a thundercloud is much too small to discharge the thundercloud. The rod diverts to itself a stroke on its way to the earth but can do so only in the final part of the stroke’s earthward trajectory. Diversion is achieved by the initiation of an electrical discharge, a sort of traveling spark, which propagates from the rod, intercepts the downward‐moving lightning, and provides a conducting path to the rod. Before the traveling spark is initiated, the downward‐moving lightning is essentially uninfluenced by objects on the ground beneath it. The traveling spark is generally 10 to 100 yards long when it meets the lightning.
    • Any high object may initiate an upward=moving spark which attempts to reach the downward‐moving lighting. It is therefore important that the lightning rod be the tallest object near the structure it protects, so that its traveling spark catches the lightning rather than a spark initiated by the chimney or a nearby tree.” (Uman pg 9)
  • How many people are killed each year by lightning?
    • There are no exact figures because there is no central agency to which lightning accidents are reported. However various studies have reported the average number of deaths in the US to be 100, 137, 151, 300, and even 600. Lightning is the cause of more direct deaths than any other weather occurrences. About 2/3 rds of those involved in lightning related accidents make a complete recovery.
    • “The largest single category of lightning deaths is composed of those unfortunate individuals who seek refuge under trees during thunderstorms and have their sheltering trees struck by lightning.” (Uman pg 18) Golfers especially need to be aware of the dangers of lightning.
  • What should I do if caught outdoors in a thunderstorm?
    • What NOT to do if caught in a thunderstorm – do not make a lightning rod of yourself and do not stand beneath a lightning rod. Try not to project above the surrounding landscape. Do not stand under isolated trees or any other isolated shelters. Avoid wire fences, overground pipes, rails, and other metallic paths along the ground which could carry lightning that has hit farther away to you. Avoid swimming since lightning can travel through water.
    • What TO do – in an urban area, seek shelter in a building – preferably one with a metal frame or lightning rod or in a car with the windows rolled up. In wide open spaces seek a ravine, valley, or a depression in the ground. Crouch or lie down. In the woods, seek an area dense with trees.
  • Is it safe to talk on a telephone during a thunderstorm? Shower?
    • Do not talk on a corded telephone during a storm (cordless is ok, cell phones are ok). Indoors try to avoid fixtures connected to the house plumbing or to appliances that are plugged into the house wiring system. So yes, avoid the shower as well.
  • Should I unplug radios and TVs?
    • Yes.
  • How can I help someone struck by lightning?
    • “Lightning “deaths” are often reversible. Many victims who appear dead, in that they are not breathing and have no heartbeat, can be revived with proper first aid. It is tragic that this fact is not more widely known. If a victim is still breathing he will, in all probability, recover.” (Uman 22)
    • “If the victim’s heart has started spontaneously but his breathing has not, mouth‐to‐mouth artificial respiration should be given at about 10 to 20 breaths per minute. If the heart is not beating (if the victim has no pulse), both heart action and breathing must be re‐started. Heart action can be stimulated by placing the victim on his back and pressing firmly on his chest with the heel of the hand once every second or slightly faster. A person alone with the victim should alternate between about five cycles of chest pressure and the same number of mouth‐to‐mouth artificial respiration cycles. If two rescuers are present, one should apply mouth‐to‐mouth respiration, the other chest pressure. This first aid should be continued until the victim’s heart action and breathing begin or until professional medical help is secured.” (Uman 23)
  • Am I safe from lightning in an airplane? In a car?
    • “To be safe from lightning really means being certain that none of the lightning current can flow through you.” (Uman 25)
    • “Lightning which travels many miles through insulating air is not about to be halted by half an inch or even a yard of insulation rubber. The rubber tires on a car do not serve to insulate the car from ground and thereby prevent it from being struck by lightning as is commonly believed. A car is a relatively safe shelter in a thunderstorm, because, if it is struck by lightning, the current will tend to flow in the metal skin of the car and not in the occupant. The lighting will ground itself by jumping from the car to the earth either through the air, along the surface of a tire, or through a tire. (in which case the tire will be destroyed). For maximum security, the car windows should be rolled up and wet and the occupant should not touch any metal part of the car or the car radio.” (Uman pg 25, 26)
    • Because airplanes are almost entirely metal, lightning rarely enters them. Airplanes on the ground are relatively safe during a thunderstorm. Airplanes in flight do get struck by lightning. Almost always they continue to fly (unless the gas tank is hit).
  • How does lightning damage trees and buildings?
    • Lightning can strike a tree and leave no visual damage or it can cause considerable damage. Most trees struck by lightning are not killed. However they are often weakened and more susceptible to insects and diseases.
    • A complete lightning discharge is called a flash. A lightning flash lasts a few tenths of a second. Each flash between cloud and ground is composed of a number of component strokes, ranging from one to 20 or 30 but usually about three or four. Lightning with multiple component strokes appears to flicker.
    • The bottom end of the lightning channel can be thought of as a source of current which is forced into the lightning attachment point. This current generates heat in the object through which it flows. The amount of heat depends on the object’s resistance to electrical current. If the object has a low resistance – i.e. is a conductor, like metal – then there is relatively little heating. If the object has a high resistance (like wood or plastic) then there is a great deal of heating although not necessarily enough to cause burning. The essentially instantaneous lightning current rise inside a high‐resistance material causes rapid heating and consequent vaporization (conversion from solid to gas) of some of the internal material. As a result, a very high pressure is quickly generated within the material and, typically, this pressure blows the material apart. (Uman pg 44, 45)
  • Does lightning “never strike twice”?
    • Much of what is known about lightning today has been discovered precisely because lightning does strike the same structure over and over again. The empire state building in New York City is struck by lightning an average of about 23 times per year. As many as 48 strikes have been recorded in one year, and during one thunderstorm eight strikes occurred within 24 minutes.
    • The probability of a structure being struck by lightning depends on its height. However any structure, regardless of its height may be struck by lightning.
  • Does lightning always strike the tallest object?
    • The Empire State Building has been struck 50 ft below the top. It is thought that the greater the electrical charge residing on the downward moving stepped leader, the longer will be the connecting leader propagating upward from the building top. Thus, a relatively weak stepped leader can come closer to a building top without drawing an upward leader than can a relatively strong stepped leader. It is possible; therefore, that a weak stepped leader might “sneak” past the top of a building and only draw a leader when it has reached some lower level.
    • Another explanation – the obvious strike point has been kept from generating an upward‐moving leader by a pocket of airborne charge (so called space charge). Properly distributed regions of space charge could cause the lightning to strike almost anywhere. (Uman pg 53)
  • How are thunderstorms formed?
    • The conditions necessary for the formation of a local thunderstorm are: 1. the air from ground level to many thousands of feet must be moist, 2. the atmosphere must be “unstable”, and 3. the sun must heat the ground and the air near the ground. In an unstable atmosphere, hot, wet air near the ground will rise to heights where the temperature is below freezing, eventually forming an thundercloud. (Uman pg 59)
    • There are three stages in the life of a local or convective thundercloud: cumulus, mature, and dissipating. The cumulus stage begins when small, fluffy white, cumulus clouds combine to form a larger cloud, a cumulus congestus, perhaps a mile in diameter, with a well‐defined top which rises at 1000 to 2000 ft per minute. The primary characteristic of the cumulus stage is that air motion throughout the cloud is upward. The cumulus stage lasts 10 to 15 minutes. As the cumulus congestus cloud grows, water drops and ice form within the cloud. Eventually the rain, hail, and snow within the cloud become sufficiently heavy that they can no longer be moved upward by the prevailing updrafts.
    • The formation of heavy precipitation signals the beginning of the mature stage. Precipitation begins to fall, dragging air downwards with it. The cloud, now a cumulonimbus, contains both updrafts and downdrafts, and rain from the cloud reaches the ground. The top of a mature thundercloud may extend to 60,000 ft. It flattens out and assumes a characteristic anvil shape on reaching the stratosphere, the region of the atmosphere in which temperature is constant or increases with height. The mature stage of the storm lasts 15 to 30 minutes and is accompanied by considerable lightning activity. Finally the storm enters it dissipating stage. The violent updrafts and downdrafts decrease, and precipitation is less intense. The water droplets in the cloud evaporate, and the remainder of the cloud is blown away. The dissipating stage lasts about 30 minutes. The total lifetime of the convective thundercloud is roughly an hour. (Uman pg 61)
  • Are their locations with no lightning?
  • Some parts of the world have a great deal of lightning while others have essentially no lightning. The degree of thunderstorm activity in a particular geographical area depends on its prevailing meteorological conditions. (Uman pg 59)
  • How many thunderstorms are in progress in the world at one time?
  • About 2000.
  • Does cloud lightning differ from cloudtoground lightning? Which is more common?
  • There are two principal types of lightning discharges – flashes which occur between the thundercloud and the earth (cloud‐to‐ground discharges) and flashes within the thundercloud (intracloud discharges). Other types of discharges such as cloud‐to‐cloud lightning and cloud‐to‐air lightning also occur but not very frequently. It is a widespread misconception that cloud‐to‐cloud lightning is common. (Uman pg 65)
  • Does lightning occur only in thunderstorms?
  • Although the thundercloud is the most common source of lightning, it is not the only one. Lightning occurs in snowstorms, in sandstorms, in non‐thunderstorm rain and ice, in the ejected material above erupting volcanoes, near the fireballs created by nuclear explosions, and apparently even out of the clear blue sky. (Uman pg 65)
  • Does a stroke between cloud and ground travel upwards or downwards?
  • It does both. The usual lightning flash between cloud and ground (excluding the discharges initiated by tall structures) begins with a visually undetected downward‐moving traveling spark called the stepped leader. Since the lightning flash begins with a downward‐moving discharge, lightning moves from the cloud to the ground. On the other hand, when the stepped leader reaches ground (or is contacted by and upward‐moving discharge some tens of yards above the ground) the leader channel first becomes highly luminous at the ground and then at higher and higher altitudes. The bright, visible channel, or so=called return stroke, is formed from the ground up, and one could say, therefore, that visible lightning moves from the ground to the cloud. (Uman pg 73)
  • How long and how wide is the lightning channel?
  • How long – varies from over 90 miles to a few yards. The average vertical stroke height is about 3 to 4 miles. The lightning channel diameter is about an inch.
  • Why is lightning zigzag?
  • We don’t really know. The larger‐scale zigzags are due to the fact that the stepped leader makes such an errant trip to ground. Possibly due to various airborne regions of charge which divert the leader on its trip. Or the leader jus doesn’t know exactly where it wants to, except that ultimately it wants to move downward. The smaller scale zigzags are formed possibly by the magnetic forces associated with the return stroke current. (Uman pg 90)
  • How can I best photograph lightning?
  • Put your camera on a tripod pointed in the direction of the storm, leaving the shutter on until lightning occurs in the field of view. This only works at nighttime. Camera focus should be set at infinity.
  • How hot is lightning?
  • Five times hotter than the surface of the sun.
  • How is thunder generated?
  • The return stroke rapidly deposits a large amount of energy along the leader channel. That channel is heated by the energy input to above 50,000 Degrees K. Heating of a short section say 10 yards of channel takes only millionths of a second and hence the channel section has no time to expand while it is being heated. Air heated from room temperature or from a leader temperature of a few thousand degrees to above 50,000 degrees K without having tie to expand attains a pressure considerable in excess of normal atmospheric pressure – 1 atmosphere. The initial pressure of the return stroke channel is definitely in excess of 10 atmospheres and may be 100 atmospheres or more. The high‐pressure channel rapidly expands into the surrounding air (initially at atmospheric pressure) and compresses it. This disturbance of the air propagates outward in all directions. For the first 10 yards or so it propagates as a shock wave – a major disturbance in the air which travels faster than the speed of sound) and after that as an ordinary sound wave (small compressions and expansions of the air density). The sound pulse from a short section of lightning channel lasts less than 0.1 seconds and travels at about 1090 ft/s at sea level. The thunder we hear, then, is the pressure variations induced in the air by the expansion of each part of the lightning channel (main channel and branches) due to it’s initial high pressure (Uman pg 104, 105)
  • How can it be used to measure the distance and length of the lightning channel?
  • The light emitted by the return stroke channel travels away from the channel at 186,000 miles/sec, and we see light almost simultaneously with channel formation. However the sound of the thunder from that channel frequently takes many seconds to reach us. The initial thunder heard comes from the point on the lightning channel that is nearest to the observer. From the time it takes the first sound to arrive we can determine how far away the lightning strike was. So 5 seconds equals 1 mile. (Uman pg 105)
  • Does lightning occur without thunder? Thunder without lightning?
  • Since it is the lightning channel that creates thunder, there can be no thunder without lightning. And there is no lightning without thunder as well.
  • What is heat lightning? Sheet lightning?
  • Heat lighting – the name given to the illumination of distant clouds close to the horizon which occurs without thunder and in the absence of a visible lightning channel. These are often too far away to hear lightning – must be within 15 miles of the lightning strike.
  • Sheet lightning – name given to the intracloud discharges which light up a large cloud area simultaneously, giving the impression of a sheet of light. Sheet lightning may or may not produce audible thunder depending on its distance from the observer. (Uman pg 114, 115)
  • Do gushes of rain follow thunder?
  • While most rain gushes are preceded by lightning, it does not follow that lightning invariably produces rain gushes. Whether there is a rain gush or not depends, among other things, on the liquid water content of the cloud. If this is too low, heavy rain cannot form.
  • Although it is possible for lightning to occur in the absence of appreciable precipitation, the two usually go hand in hand. Research shows that the greater the number of lightning discharges, the greater the rainfall. (Uman pg 120)
  • What is ball lightning? Are UFO’s and ball lightning related?
  • Ball lightning is the name given to the mobile luminous spheres which have been observed during thunderstorms. A typical ball lightning is about the size of an orange or grapefruit and has a lifetime of a few seconds. Visual sightings are often accompanied by permanent material damage, sounds, and odors. Ball lightning has been seen by 5 to 10% of the population. Ball lightning is usually created at or near the lightning channel and that an appreciable fraction of all cloud‐to‐ground lightning flashes may give birth to ball lightning. Since the balls generally last for only a few seconds, they cannot get too far from the mother channel. Thus ball lightning may well be common, but rarely seen. (Uman 130, 131)
  • UFOs – a small percentage of the UFO reports are so similar to a certain class of ball lightning reports that they both must refer to the same “imperfectly understood physical phenomena.” These particular lightning balls are much larger, much brighter, and much longer‐lived than the typical balls. They are reported to be 10 to 20 feet in diameter, give the impression of being as bright as lightning and may last a minute or more. When such objects appear immediately after lightning it is clear that they should be called ball lightning. Sometimes, however, they appear near or in clouds or in snow without the apparent presence of lightning, and occasionally such objects are reported in seemingly clear air. (Uman pg 133)
  • What is ribbon lightning? Bead lightning?
  • Ribbon lightning is the name given to the optical illusion occurring when a cloud‐to‐ground lightning flash is moved sideways an appreciable distance by the wind during the time between the component strokes of the flash. Each stroke in the flash is then seen separated horizontally in space. To the eye, each identically shaped stroke (ribbon) appears to occur simultaneously. (Uman 137)
  • Bead or chain lightning is a visually well‐documented phenomenon in which the lightning channel to ground breaks up, or appears to break up, into luminous fragments generally reported to be some tens of yards long. The leads are reported to persist longer than the usually cloud‐to‐ground discharge channel. However no reliable photographs of bead lightning have ever been published. (Uman pg 139)
  • Has lightning any practical use?
  • Nitrogen comprises about 80% of the atmosphere surrounding the earth, yet it cannot be used directly by the large majority of plants and animals until it is “fixed.” “Fixed” nitrogen is nitrogen incorporated in chemical compounds necessary to the chemical processes of life, as opposed to the relatively inert form
  • of nitrogen, the nitrogen molecule, found in the air. Fixing is accomplished by special organisms in the soil and waters, industrial processes, and ionizing atmospheric processes including lightning. Nitrogen which has been fixed in the atmosphere is brought to the earth in rain. (Uman 147)
  • Forest ecology
  • It would seem obvious that lightning‐induced forest fires should be suppressed, but this is not necessarily the case. Until recently, frequent fires kept the California forest floor clean; the fires themselves were small and did not damage the trees. Ironically, efforts to prevent and contain forest fires in California enabled the brush to grow more thickly and now most fires are big ones. We may be indebted to ancient forest fires for California’s giant sequoias. The seedlings of these trees can germinate in ashes but are suppressed under the thick layer of needles that might cover an unburned forest floor. (Uman pg 45)



Ring World - The Return
Run Time 35 minutes original 45 minutes expanded

Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute

The Original show:
MLK Planetarium is fortunate to get the NASA show conmemorating the Cassini Mission to Saturn.  We would like to thank Martin Radcliffe of Wichita Kansas for his help getting the show through production.

The Expanded show:
The original was 35 minutes long.  We added 10 minutes to the end of new discoveries found by Cassini at Saturn. Including a free fall through the atmosphere of Titan.  

The Expanded show will be finished by Mid January 2006.

A tour of the voyage of Cassini from Earth to Saturn.


Stellar Extremes

Stellar Extremes
Run Time 50 minutes.

Tour the most extreme stars in the night sky with Jim Flowers (no relation to local news personality), Uncle Cosmo, and Dr. Chu.
We have adapted this show for single screen video with star projector support.

Largest-Smallest Star
Closest Star
Hottest Star
Coolest Star
How stars are grouped.
Stars about to be formed.
Stars about to explode.
Mixed with an amazing mix of Hubble images.

We would like to thank the shows producers for preparing the show it was created at the William W. Staerkel Planetarium with the help of the Hubble Space Telescope grants program.

Point of No Return

Point of No Return-Quasars

This show is also called the Quasar show by the students who have seen it.

What are quasars?

Why do we study them?

Where do we find quasars?

This show from UNL's Mueller Planetarium and Hubble Space Grants Program was created right here in Nebraska. 

The show reveals the twisted and violent actions of Super Massive Black Holes 

Spitzer Space Telescope

SPITZER Space Telescope

The SPITZER telescope sees the universe in infrared and is very good at finding dust.  We will look at some of the design requirements for an infrared space telescope and examine the following.

- Infrared light Show
- How Remotes Work
- Nightvision goggles and how they work


Ursa is Latin for Bear, trust me.
        Ursa Major, Ursa Minor, The Drinking Gourd, Big and Little Dipper

Time 25 Minutes
Grade K-8
Part 2 Folk tale writing

Royal Flush

Royal Flush
        Andromeda, Casiopeia, Perseus, Cepheus, Cetus, and Pegasus

This is the story of how Andromeda, daughter of Queen Casiopeia and King Cepheus, was rescued by the hero Perseus on his winged horse Pegasus from the sea monster Cetus.

Time 30 Minutes
Grade K-8
Part 2 Moon Phase Names

Zoo of the Night

Zoo of the Night
        Ursa Major, Ursa Minor, Leo, Cancer, Canis Major, Canis Minor, Cygnus, Aquila, and Delphinus

There are many animals in the night sky, and in this show we are going to look at nine of the easier ones to find in the night sky.  Ursa Major and Minor are the bears, Leo the lion, Cancer the crab, Canis Major and Minor the dogs, Cygnus the swan, Aquila the eagle, and Delphinus the dolphin complete the cast.

Time 30 Minutes
Grade 4-8
Part 2 Design your own animal constellation

Borders of the Sky

Borders of the Sky
        Auriga, Andromeda, Pegasus, Scorpius, Libra, Taurus

The night sky is truly a natural wonder, everything looks so easy to organize.  The problem is astronomy is a very old science and over the years ideas have changed and maps have been translated.  This has resulted in a problem with some of the constellations overlaping their borders.  What happens when a star is part of two constellations?  We will look at some of these constellations that have been edited by time.

Time 25 Minutes
Grade 4-8
Part 2 Map reading and labeling

Geometric Figures

Geometric Shapes

Summer Triangle, Winter Triangle, Keystone of Hercules, Circlets

The stars are fun to use to make dot to dot figures of animals and people.  However, we can also use them to make many geometry shapes.  Just think about it, any three stars can be used to make a triangle.  The real challenge is to Trapizoids, Squares, Circles, and Octogons.

Time 25 Minutes
Grade 4-8
Part 2 Make a foldable of different shapes

Chinese Dragons

Chinese Dragons

The conversion of several Greco-Roman constellations into traditional chinese dragons.  We will also sort the constellations into the Chinese elemental catagories.  This show is extended during Chinese New Year to include the mechanics of the Chinese Lunar Calendar.


Time 20 Minutes
Grade K-8
Part 2 Make a dragon from a field of stars

Calendar Stars

Calendar Stars

Vega, Arcturus, Rigel, Sirius, and Antares

Astronomy has been used to keep track of time for hundreds of years but how did they do it.  We are going to use the planetarium to look at several multicultural versions of the stellar calendar.

Time 25 Minutes
Grade K-8
Part 2 Calendar Venn Diagram

Guardian of the Sky

Guardian of the Sky

Draco, Ursa Major, and Ursa Minor

Who do you call if you have a treasure to protect? A they will run off to rescue the first damsel in distress.  You need a reliable monster, one that will fit your very unique needs.  The trick is writing writing the perfect want ad.




1 Dragon

Apply within... Must supply references


Time 30 Minutes
Grade K-Adult
Part 2 Folk tale writing



Warrior on the Hunt

Warrior on the Hunt

Orion, Canis Major, Canis Minor, Lepus, Cancer, Lupus, and Eridanus

Astronomy has several constellations that are popular.  They tend to be bright and easy to locate.  Orion is an "A" List constellation, most people's second question when seeing a planetarium's star field is "Where is Orion?"  We will look at some of the constellations that are around Orion.

Time 25 Minutes
Grade K-8
Part 2 Folk tale writing

Birds of the Sky

Birds of the Sky
        Cygnus, Aquilla, Pavo, Phoenix, and Lyra (variations)


I was sure it was called Orion?
        Orion, and the Milky Way

Summer Triangle

    Summer Triangle
        Cygnus, Aquila, Lyra, and Delphinus

Winter Triangle

Winter Triangle
        Orion, Canis Major, and Canis Minor

Day and Night

Ant Dances for Light
Day and Night
A Kiowa Apache and Lakota story told by Dovie Thomason-Sickles

If you watch ants work around their hive they seem to be dancing as they move around the mound.  This story explains how the ant got it's tiny waist and how day and night were divided.


Spring Defeats Winter
An Abenaki story retold by Joseph Bruchac

It is the story of the transition from Old Man Winter and the North Wind to Young Man Spring and the South Wind.


The part 2 activity for this show is a presentation on the cause for the seasons and the students are given a writing prompt of "Write a mythological story to explain the change of the seasons."


Coyote Makes the Sun

A Chickasaw story retold by Lynn Moroney



Coyotes and the Dancing Stars
A Chickasaw story retold by Lynn Moroney


How We Got Stars
An adaptation of Apache, Hopi, and Tewa stories told by Michael Lacapa


Coyote and the Milky Way
An adaptation of Apache, Hopi, and Tewa stories told by Michael Lacapa.


"Why the Coyote Howls: A Star Story"
A Chickasaw story retold by Lynn Moroney


Why the North Star Stands Still
A Chickasaw story retold by Lynn Moroney

Solar System

The Creation of Earth
Solar System
An Abenaki story retold by Joseph Bruchac

Moon Phases

Sky Tellers

Moon Phases

What is it like being married to the moon?  Discover with us the answer to this question during this interesting show based on a Cherokee story as told by Gayle Ross.

Additional activities for this show can be found at the following link.