Planetarium Shows

January 2023 Shows

All planetarium shows begin at 7:30pm. Admission opens at 7:00pm. Telescope viewing afterwards on clear nights.

January 7th – The Planetarium: A Magic Carpet

We can use the star projector in the planetarium to pretend to fly anywhere on Earth – like a magic carpet! Gena Crook will demonstrate the motion of the stars across the sky at the equator, the north pole, and the southern hemisphere. We will also watch how the sun changes positions at these locations. You may be surprised if you haven’t actually been to the equator or the north pole in person! This program will put the star projector to work and allow us to see its unique educational capabilities.

Presented by Gena.

January 14th – “So you got a telescope for Christmas”

A wide ranging discussion, about types of telescopes, and telescope accessories. Topics such as what
are the best (and cheapest) low power 1.25” or 2” eyepieces? What focal length eyepiece will give you
the best view for deep-sky objects? What eyepiece filters are the best for nebulae, or for planets?
What is atmospheric dispersion, and how can a $130.00 dispersion corrector result in much better views
of the planets.

Presented by Frank

January 21st – Wandering Stars

To the skywatchers of long ago, the bright stars that moved periodically among the fixed stars were known as the Wanderers. Today we know them as the planets. Right now you can see several bright planets in the night sky. Come and find out more about planet spotting and the various paths they follow.

Presented by Alex.

January 28th – Kids Night at the Planetarium

Bring your kiddos out for a night at the planetarium specifically for them. We will learn about the moon and try out some fun activities for the young (or young at heart). 

Presented by Delisa.
Planetarium Shows

June Planetarium Shows

Astronomer William Herschel

Saturday June 11, 7:30: William Herschel made numerous discoveries that give cause for some to call him the father of modern astronomy. His most famous discovery doubled the size of the Solar System. Come learn about this musician/composer turned astronomer/telescope maker who left forever one of the biggest marks in the history of astronomy. 

Presented by Jared Cassidy, VBAS Planetarium Director

Summer Stars

Saturday June 18, 7:30: Come learn the brightest stars, constellations and star lore, just in time for your next camping trip! We’ll cover the basics: the brightest stars, most prominent constellations, meteor showers, what to do with binoculars or a small telescope, and where to learn more.

Presented by Don Martin

Standing Stones and Sungazers

Saturday June 25, 7:30: In recognition of the Summer Solstice a few days earlier, we will explore how ancient civilizations marked the passage of the year through monuments, monoliths and markers.

Presented by Alex Hall

Planetarium Shows

June 17th – Member Meeting

Don’t miss the Monthly Meeting on Friday, June 17!

7:00 pm for Pizza, 7:30 pm for our speaker, Makaila Jennings, who will give a presentation on “How Distance Affects the Double Dip Transit Photometry Method’s Ability to Detect Exoplanets.”

In our quest of whether there is life outside of our solar system, the focus has been on finding planets known as Super-Earths with Earth-like qualities suitable for life, but large enough for us to see. The purpose of this study is to see how distance affects the double-dip transit photometry method of detecting exoplanets. The procedure is to set up a star-planet system in a large four-foot black box with a color-changing and intensity-changing LED bulb to simulate the star. A Hot Jupiter (foam ball) is suspended from a rotating motor, orbiting close to the star, and a suspended Super-Earth (a bead) orbiting further from the star at three different distances.

Makaila Jennings is a rising High school Junior. She is the winner of the 2021 Alabama Junior Academy of Science paper competition and she represented the State of Alabama at the 60th National Junior Science and Humanities Symposium in Albuquerque, NM. Her research is on “How Distance Affects the Double Dip Transit Photometry Method’s Ability to Detect Exoplanets.” Makaila is also the recipient of the 2020 Angela Award from the National Science Teachers Association.

Planetarium Shows

NALZS Festival on April 9

On Saturday, April 9th, the North Alabama Zoological Society (NALZS) is hosting a Kid’s Festival in Monte Sano State Park.  VBAS will be participating in the festival by presenting planetarium shows featuring the “Zoo in the Sky.”  These 45 minute shows will be presented at 10:00 am, 11:00 am, 12:00 pm, and 1:00 pm during the festival.  VBAS will charge it’s regular admission fee of $5 for adults and $3 for students then donate all of the proceeds to NALZS.  No reservations required to attend the shows.

Planetarium Shows

March 2022 Shows

Our planetarium show and star party on March 12th is cancelled due to weather.

7:30 pm Reservations required.

Go to the Calendar on our website and click on the Saturday you wish to attend to reserve a seat.

Planting by the Moon

March 5, 12, and 26 – 7:30pm, reservation required

Do you use the advice in the Farmer’s Almanac to plant your garden?  Maybe after tonight’s discussion you’d like to try it!  In the planetarium tonight we’ll celebrate the return of spring and investigate the constellations associated with the vernal equinox, i.e. first day of spring.  Get ready for warmer weather, sunny days, and planting seeds for summer. 

Presented by Gena Crook

Our Moon, Luna

Saturday, March 19 – 7:30pm, reservation required

Come join us for a show about our moon. The presenter will answer questions such as…
What are some of its geological features? What are the two types of eclipses that involve our moon? What value could the moon be to us in the future? After the show, lights will be turned down and the stars brought up on the dome. Special stars and some of the Spring constellations will be pointed out for you. See you there!

Presented by Brenda Rogers

Planetarium Shows

February 2022 Shows

Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff?

The Asteroids – Some of the other ‘stuff’ of the Solar System

Presented by Eric Silkowski

February 5, 12, 26. Reservations required.

We’ve all heard the expression “don’t sweat the small stuff.” Normally good advice for living.  With the asteroids, some of the ‘small stuff’ of the solar system, it’s actually a good idea to spend some time thinking about them.  While there are only eight planets, there are millions of asteroids.  Small asteroids buzz planet Earth frequently, and some even fall as meteorites!  Asteroids have been found to contain pristine material from the birth of the Solar System 4.6 billion years ago.  Some asteroids are thought to contain unimaginable riches in precious metals.  Recent space missions have looked at asteroids up close, and some have even snatched samples for return to Earth.  This show will introduce you to the fascinating world of asteroids and explain why scientists do “sweat the small stuff.”

Magic Carpet Tour

February 19. Reservation required.

With a magic carpet we could travel anywhere we wanted, right? Tonight the planetarium star projector will become a magic carpet and take us to the north pole, the equator, and beyond! Why? So we can see the stars and the sun from different places on Earth. The sun’s path across the sky and the effects it has on earth at different locations might surprise you!

Planetarium Shows

January Shows

“The Moon

Saturdays: Jan 8, 15, 29 at 7:30PM

Learn some interesting facts about our planet’s very interesting satellite and how it is unusually large for such a small planet. Learn about the interesting features you can see even with a very small telescope, such as craters, lava plains, mountains, rilles (look like river beds), volcanic domes, and how we think they were all formed.

Planetarium Shows

Upcoming Show: James Webb Space Telescope

Please join us at 7:30pm, January 22nd for a talk on JWST by Naveen Vetcha.

On Dec 25th 2021, NASA (in collaboration with European Space Agency and Canadian Space Agency) created history by successfully launching the world’s largest and most complex space science observatory, The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST). JWST is currently on its way to the Sun-Earth L2 point which is about a million miles away from the Earth. During its journey to L2, JWST will undergo a complex deployment sequence to unfurl various systems on the telescope. Join us to learn about this exciting journey of the telescope and its mission objectives.