United States Air Force Academy

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To the stars

Planetarium

Front doors of the planetarium at the Academy.

 

We offer a diverse range of full-dome and IMAX films, live talks and educational events using our state-of-the-art 8K projection technology and immersive surround sound.

The Academy’s Planetarium enhances our Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) outreach and cadet education mission through public shows, field trips, and cadet classes.

Free Public Shows

All public shows are free and open to the public. Military or Department of Defense identification is not required to enter the North Gate with a valid driver’s license. Seating for all public shows is on a first come, first serve basis. We do not accept reservations for public shows. We recommend arriving 10 minutes prior to the show time.

The Planetarium is closed on graduation day and federal holidays.

See below for current public show schedule. See bottom of this page for descriptions/running times of Planetarium shows.

Shows are subject to change or cancellation without notice.


Schedule

All public shows are free, open to the public, and are first come, first seated. Once the planetarium’s 110 seats are filled, the Planetarium is full and additional guests will be asked to attend the next showing.

All guests must exit the Planetarium after each show. Guests are welcome to re-queue for the next show, but only after exiting to allow everyone the opportunity to enjoy the Planetarium.

We thank you for your understanding and adherence to these policies.

Please note: All Planetarium shows are subject to change or cancellation without notice.

March Show Schedule
Friday March 1 3:00 – Volcanoes
4:00 – Superpower Dogs
5:00 – Astronaut
Saturday March 2 11:00 – Black Holes
12:00 – Experience the Aurora
1:00 – Fighter Pilot
2:00 – Live Night Sky Tour
Tuesday March 5 12:30 – Eclipses & Phases of the Moon
1:30 – Live Solar System Tour
3:00 – Oasis in Space
Thursday March 7 12:30 – Robot Explorers & Live Robotic Exploration Update
1:30 – Humpback Whales
3:00 – From Earth to the Universe
Friday March 8 3:00 – Live Night Sky & Universe Tour
4:00 – Forward! To the Moon
Saturday March 9 11:00 – Oasis in Space
12:00 – Great Bear Rainforest
1:00 – Live Night Sky Tour
2:00 – Apollo 11: First Steps
Monday March 11 12:30 – Cosmic Mashups: Gravity, Galaxies, and Supermassive Black Holes
1:30 – Astronaut
3:00 – Volcanoes
Thursday March 14 12:30 – Forward! To the Moon
1:30 – Live James Webb Space Telescope Update
3:00 – Eclipse Double Feature: Eclipses & Phases of the Moon and Live Total Solar Eclipse Update
Saturday March 16 11:00 – Eclipses & Phases of the Moon
12:00 – Live Night Sky Tour
1:00 – From Earth to the Universe
2:00 – Superpower Dogs
Tuesday March 19 12:30 – Black Holes
1:30 – Apollo 11: First Steps
3:00 – Experience the Aurora
Wednesday March 20 10:30 – Homeschool Open House: From Earth to the Universe and Live Exoplanet Extravaganza Show             Online RSVP Required
Friday March 22 Evening Shows:
5:00 – Great Bear Rainforest
6:00 – Forward! To the Moon and Live NASA Artemis Mission Update
Saturday March 23 3:00 – Eclipses & Phases of the Moon
4:00 – Live Night Sky & Solar System Tour
5:00 – Oasis in Space
Monday March 25 NEW MOVIE PREMIERE!
12:00 – D-Day: Normandy 1944     Online RSVP Required
1:00 – D-Day: Normandy 1944     Online RSVP Required
2:00 – D-Day: Normandy 1944     Online RSVP Required
3:00 – D-Day: Normandy 1944     Online RSVP Required
4:00 – D-Day: Normandy 1944     Online RSVP Required
Evening Shows:
5:00 – D-Day: Normandy 1944     Online RSVP Required
6:00 – D-Day: Normandy 1944     Online RSVP Required
Tuesday March 26 12:00 – Flight Adventures
12:30 – Eclipses & Phases of the Moon
1:30 – D-Day: Normandy 1944
3:00 – Total Solar Eclipse Show: Eclipses & Phases of the Moon and Live Total Solar Eclipse Update
4:00 – Black Holes
Thursday March 28 12:00 – Cosmic Mashups: Gravity, Galaxies, and Black Holes
12:30 – Astronaut
1:30 – Humpback Whales
3:00 – Live Night Sky & Solar System Tour
4:00 –  Dream Big
Evening Shows:
5:00 – Total Solar Eclipse Show: Eclipses & Phases of the Moon and Live Total Solar Eclipse Update
6:00 – D-Day: Normandy 1944
Friday March 29 Celebrating Star Trek: First Contact Day
12:00 – Star Trek: First Contact    Online RSVP Required
3:00 – Star Trek: First Contact    Online RSVP Required
Evening Show:
6:00 – Star Trek: First Contact    Online RSVP Required

 

School Field Trips and Group Shows

Elementary, Middle, and High Schools may reserve planetarium field trips at no cost. When requesting a school visit, teachers may select from the list of programs found just below our schedule. We also offer live, interactive astronomy shows tailored to your grade’s science standards.

Home school co-ops and classes with fewer than 15 students may request to join one of our Homeschool Open House Days, listed in our Public show section. To reserve seats at our homeschool open house, register using the link provided next to the show date and time. Please ensure each attendee is registered separately. Should your plans change, please email planetarium@afacademy.af.edu in order for your seats to be opened for other guests.

Educators interested in additional STEM resources and opportunities can find STEM Outreach information here.

Planetarium Field Trip/Group Visit Request
If you would like to schedule a school field trip or a group showing in the planetarium, please click this button and complete the online request form.

Field Trip/Groups need to be a minimum of 20 people. If you have a request for less than 20 people, please send a direct email to the email on this page.

Our planetarium school field trips and group showings are free of charge as a service to the community provided by the U.S. Air Force Academy.


Cadet Shows

The Planetarium creates an immersive learning environment for cadets that can’t be replicated in a traditional classroom or online environment, leading to greater comprehension of complex topics. Although its primarily used as a source of astronomy and astrophysics education, the capabilities and content have expanded to encompass a variety of disciplines such as biology, chemistry, geology, engineering and history. To discuss how we can support curriculum or schedule a visit Monday through Friday, faculty and staff should email planetarium@afacademy.af.edu.


Directions

To visit the Planetarium, use exit 156 off Interstate 25 and enter the U.S. Air Force Academy through the North Gate. You will need your driver’s license or military ID and proof of vehicle insurance to enter the base. Please be prepared for potential security measures such as vehicle inspections. Foreign national visitors with a passport will need to go to the Pass & Registration Center, just outside the South Gate at exit 150, to obtain a pass.

Learn more about base access and check out the campus map. Please do not follow GPS directions as those will take you to an incorrect location.

Once on base, continue driving straight on Academy Drive for 4 miles and then turn left to park in the visitor lot for Arnold Hall. To the north of the visitor parking, there is a building with a white dome – that’s the Planetarium! Please follow the steps to the front door or use the winding path to the left of the steps for ramp access.

History

The Planetarium was originally built in 1959 and is one of the oldest structures at the U.S. Air Force Academy. With seats surrounding the perimeter and a large projector in the center, the Planetarium was initially used to teach celestial navigation classes to cadets. Due to rapidly advancing computing technology, cadets no longer had a need to navigate by the stars and this resulted in its closure in 2004.

After 15 years of sitting vacant, a passionate group of Academy leaders with the support of private donors spearheaded an effort to not only refurbish the structure, but advance the technology and capabilities inside to serve a new generation of cadets leading the way in space. Although the exterior remains virtually identical to its previous incarnation due to its historical status, the interior now features reclining theater seats and a series of 8K projectors built into the walls that offer a 360-degree near-hemispheric screen to deliver a visually immersive field-of-view to audiences.

On March 4, 2019, the Planetarium officially reopened to the public, welcoming over 45,000 visitors in its first year of operation, including 4,000 K-12 students. With a new mission to enhance STEM outreach to the local community, it quickly became a top-rated attraction and tourist destination in Colorado Springs.