Star Gazing: 3 Southeast Michigan Planetariums
By: Scott Davis
November 2, 2016
There is a reason why franchises like Star Wars and Star Trek have been two of the most popular franchises of all-time: space is cool. You can see the space landscape portrayed in films or television, but there is something special about seeing what is actually in space projected in a planetarium. You are probably familiar with the planetarium at the Michigan Science Center, but here are three other metro Detroit area planetariums for you and your family to check out this fall.
The Vollbrecht Planetarium in Southfield projects 7,000 night sky stars inside its 30 foot dome. The dome projection displays the Northern and Southern hemispheres along with the Milky Way. The planetarium is able to compress time so that they are able to show the changes in the night sky from sunset to sunrise in the past, present, and future. Shows are on Wednesday nights at 7 p.m. and every show is unique with an interactive lecture, visual presentation, star show, and handouts. Be sure to call the message line found on the website to see when the next showing is.
With a state of the art Digistar star projector that offers visitors a 360 degree experience with a 5.1 surround system, the Acheson planetarium at Cranbrook Institute of Science is one of the most advanced planetariums in the area. The planetarium has recently enjoyed some major upgrades that make images brighter and more color-saturated than ever before. Acheson also puts on special public programs like One World, One Sky featuring Sesame Street, Michigan Sky Tonight, Young Stargazers Sky Journey, and more including holiday themed shows. The daily schedule of shows can be found here along with how you can schedule private astronomy or entertainment shows for up to 75 people.
The Museum of Natural History at the University of Michigan is home to one of the oldest planetariums in the area. Since 1958, this planetarium has been able to entertain and educate students and children alike with its seasonal star talks and programs on contemporary topics in astronomy. The planetarium offers public shows and shows for school groups that can align with most curriculums. Schedule for the special shows can be found here.