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.

Planetarium Schedule: The below schedule of Planetarium public shows and times is the ONLY official Planetarium schedule.

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

June Show Schedule
Wednesday June 19 CLOSED – Juneteenth
Thursday June 20 12:00 – Two Small Pieces of Glass
12:30 – Black Holes
1:00 – Double Feature: From Earth to the Universe & Live Night Sky Tour
2:00 – Humpback Whales
Saturday June 22 11:00 – Dream Big
12:00 – Double Feature: Oasis in Space & Live Exoplanet Extravaganza
1:00 – D-Day: Normandy 1944
2:00 – Fighter Pilot
Tuesday June 25 12:00 – From Earth to the Universe
1:00 – Robot Explorers & Live Robotic Space Exploration Update
2:00 – Humpback Whales
3:00 – Live Night Sky Tour
Thursday June 27 3:00 – Two Small Pieces of Glass
3:30 – Black Holes
4:00 – Great Bear Rainforest
Evening Show:
5:00 – Fighter Pilot
Friday June 28 12:00 – D-Day: Normandy 1944
1:00 – Superpower Dogs
2:00 – Volcanoes
3:00 – Live Night Sky & Solar System Tour
4:00 – Apollo 11: First Steps
Evening Show:
5:00 – Black Holes
July Show Schedule
Monday July 1 12:00 – Live Night Sky Tour
1:00 – Oasis in Space
2:00 – Volcanoes
3:00 – The Dark Matter Mystery
4:00 – Apollo 11: First Steps
Tuesday July 2 12:00 – Two Small Pieces of Glass
1:00 – Cosmic Mashups: Gravity, Galaxies, and Supermassive Black Holes
2:00 – Superpower Dogs
3:00 – D-Day: Normandy 1944
4:00 – Black Holes
Wednesday July 3 12:00 – Astronaut
1:00 – Great Bear Rainforest
2:00 – Dream Big
3:00 – Forward! To The Moon
4:00 – Humpback Whales
Evening Shows:
5:00 – Live Night Sky & Universe Tour
6:00 – Fighter Pilot
Thursday 4th of July CLOSED – Independence Day
Monday July 8 2:00 – Live Night Sky Tour
3:00 – Experience the Aurora
4:00 – Volcanoes
Tuesday July 9 2:00 – Eclipses & Phases of the Moon
2:30 – Oasis in Space
3:00 – From Earth to the Universe
4:00 – Forward! To the Moon
Thursday July 11 12:00 – Live Night Sky Tour
1:00 – Black Holes
2:00 – Great Bear Rainforest
3:00 – Double Feature: Two Small Pieces of Glass & Live Astronomy Show
4:00 – D-Day: Normandy 1944
Friday July 12 2:00 – Astronaut
3:00 – Humpback Whales
4:00 – Dream Big
Evening Show:
5:00 – Apollo 11: First Steps
Sunday July 14 12:00 – Live Night Sky & Universe Tour
1:00 – Fighter Pilot
2:00 – Black Holes
Tuesday July 16 2:00 – Cosmic Mashups: Gravity, Galaxies, and Supermassive Black Holes
2:30 – Oasis in Space
3:00 – Superpower Dogs
4:00 – Apollo 11: First Steps
Thursday July 18 2:00 – The Dark Matter Mystery
3:00 – Great Bear Rainforest
4:00 – Experience the Aurora
Evening Shows:
5:00 – Live Night Sky & Solar System Tour
6:00 – Volcanoes
Friday July 19 Celebrating the 54th Anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing
11:00 – From Earth to the Universe
12:00 – Astronaut
1:00 – Forward! To the Moon
2:00 – Apollo 11: First Steps
3:00 – Apollo 11: First Steps
4:00 – Apollo 11: First Steps
Tuesday July 23 2:00 – Humpback Whales
3:00 – Robot Explorers & Live Robotic Space Exploration Update
4:00 – Black Holes
Wednesday July 24 2:00 – Eclipses & Phases of the Moon
2:30 – Cosmic Mashups: Gravity, Galaxies, and Supermassive Black Holes
3:00 – The Dark Matter Mystery
4:00 – Fighter Pilot
Thursday July 25 2:00 – Live Night Sky Tour
3:00 – Dream Big
4:00 – Humpback Whales
Friday July 26 Celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 15 Mission (a film by Apollo 15 Astronaut, Dave Scott)
11:00 – Galileo’s Moon: The Apollo 15 Story
12:30 – Galileo’s Moon: The Apollo 15 Story
2:00 – Galileo’s Moon: The Apollo 15 Story
3:30 – Galileo’s Moon: The Apollo 15 Story
Tuesday July 30 12:00 – Forward! To the Moon
1:00 – Superpower Dogs
2:00 – Experience the Aurora
3:00 – Cosmic Mashups: Gravity, Galaxies, and Supermassive Black Holes
3:30 – Astronaut
4:00 – Galileo’s Moon: The Apollo 15 Story
Wednesday July 31 12:00 – Two Small Pieces of Glass
1:00 – Galileo’s Moon: The Apollo 15 Story
2:00 – Black Holes
3:00 – Oasis in Space
4:00 – Great Bear Rainforest
Evening Show:
5:00 – Live Night Sky & Universe Tour

 

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.

Homeschool groups and classes with fewer than 20 students can join one of our Homeschool Open House Days, listed in our Public Show Schedule. To reserve seats at our Homeschool Open House, register using the link provided next to the show date and time. If your plans change and you cannot attend, 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 the button below and complete the online request form.

Field Trips or Groups requesting a private show need to be a minimum of 20 people. If you have a special request for less than 20 people, please send a direct email to planetarium@afacademy.af.edu for consideration.

STEM Activity add-on is NOT yet available for 2024-25 school year. We are currently NOT BOOKING STEM Activity add-ons, only field trips to the Planetarium.

 

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.