United States Air Force Academy

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To the stars

Planetarium

Front doors of the planetarium at the Academy.

 

With state-of-the-art projection technology and immersive surround sound, the Academy’s Planetarium enhances our STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) outreach and cadet education.

We offer a diverse range of full-dome films, concerts, live talks and events, as well as host large gatherings during astronomical and NASA-related events.

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.


School Shows

Elementary, Middle and High Schools may reserve free shows for their students Monday through Friday. When requesting a school visit, teachers may select one of the shows listed at the bottom of this page. We also offer live, interactive demonstrations with an astronomer as we navigate the galaxy. To request a reservation, email planetarium@afacademy.af.edu and include the preferred date/time, number of student attendees, and any special accommodations.

Educators interested in additional STEM resources and opportunities, click here.


Free Public Shows

All shows are free and open to the public so military or Department of Defense identification is not required. Seating is on a first come, first serve basis as we do not accept reservations. We recommend arriving 10 minutes prior to the show time. See below for show schedule. Shows are subject to cancellation without notice due to inclement weather and cadet education. The Planetarium is closed on weekends, graduation day and federal holidays.


Schedule
May 2022 Calendar
Friday May 20 12:00 – Superpower Dogs
1:30 – Live Night Sky + Universe Tour
4:00 – Great Bear Rainforest
Monday May 23 12:00 – Live Night Sky + Universe Tour
1:00 – Fighter Pilot
2:00 – Live Night Sky + Solar System Tour
3:00 – Great Bear Rainforest
Tuesday May 24 12:00 – Live Night Sky + Solar System Tour
1:00 – Superpower Dogs
2:00 – Live Night Sky + Universe Tour
3:00 – Dream Big
Wednesday May 25 CLOSED – Graduation
Thursday May 26 12:00-2:00 – Open House
Friday May 27 12:00-2:00 – Open House
Monday May 30 CLOSED – Memorial Day
June 2022 Calendar
Wednesday June 1 12:00 – Apollo 11
4:00 – Dream Big
Friday June 3 12:00 – Superpower Dogs
1:30 – Live Night Sky + Universe Tour
4:00 – Great Bear Rainforest
Monday June 6 12:00 – Experience the Aurora + Black Holes
1:30 – Live Night Sky + Solar System Tour
4:00 – Humpback Whales
Wednesday June 8 12:00 – Robot Explorers + Astronaut
4:00 – Fighter Pilot
Friday June 10 12:00 – Superpower Dogs
1:30 – Live Night Sky + Universe Tour
4:00 – Volcanoes
Monday June 13 12:00 – Robots
1:30 – Live Night Sky + Solar System Tour
4:00 – Great Bear Rainforest
Wednesday June 15 12:00 – Fighter Pilot
4:00 – Apollo 11
Friday June 17 12:00 – Superpower Dogs
1:30 – Live Night Sky + Universe Tour
4:00 – Dream Big
Monday June 20 CLOSED
Wednesday June 22 12:00 – Volcanoes
4:00 – Fighter Pilot
Friday June 24 12:00 – Superpower Dogs
1:30 – Live Night Sky + Universe Tour
4:00 – Astronaut + Black Holes
Monday June 27 12:00 – Humpback Whales
1:30 – Live Night Sky + Solar System Tour
4:00 – Superpower Dogs
Wednesday June 29 12:00 – Great Bear Rainforest
4:00 – Dream Big

Please check back for updated show listings.

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 (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) outreach to the local community, it quickly became a top-rated attraction and tourist destination in Colorado Springs.

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.

For more information on how to access the base, click here and for a map, click here. 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.