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.


VBAS Equipment Sale and Annual Meeting – May 20th

VBAS will host an equipment sale and silent auction on Friday, May 20th, 2022 at 7:00pm. That date is also our regular monthly meeting and, in fact, our Annual Meeting at which we’ll elect new officers. Pizza will be served.

Some of the items up for auction include a Meade 10″ LX200, Celestron SP-C 102, 1000mm fl refractor, and an Intes 63MK Telescope (6” Maksutov). Sale items include eyepieces, adapters, diagonals, filters, small refractors, and more!

A list of items and prices can be found here.

The spreadsheet has two tabs – one lists sale items and one lists silent auction items.


May 2022 Shows

May 7th, 7:30pm

Mom’s are Out of this World!

On this Mother’s Day eve, join us for a presentation to learn a little global Mother’s Day history and then hear some stories about a few celestial moms while we explore our planetarium night sky.

Presented by Alex Hall

May 14th, 7:30pm


On Sunday night beginning at about 8:30 pm we will be treated to a total LUNAR eclipse.  The eclipse ends slightly before 2:00 am on Monday morning.  Tonight at VBAS we will talk about why and when lunar eclipses happen.  Watching a lunar eclipse is always more enjoyable if you understand what is happening!  We will also talk about the upcoming total SOLAR eclipse in 2024.  It might be time to start making your plans for that incredible event.

May 21st & 28th, 7:30pm

3D Printing in Space

Join us for a tour of 3D printing processes and learn how they are being used in space exploration.


The Sun and Eclipses Discussion – This Friday!

Crisscrossing the continental United States in October 2023 and April 2024, two solar eclipses will take place, one annular the other total. To prepare for these two eclipses, the American Astronomical Society has been holding a series of eclipse workshops; the most recent of these workshops took place on April 8 and 9. For our April 15, 2022 monthly meeting (at 7pm), we will discuss The Sun and Eclipses, review the AAS workshop discussions, and reminisce about the 2017 total-solar eclipse.

Presented by Mitzi Adams


“Bear Hunt” Observing Event on April 1st

VBAS is planning an observing event for the evening of Friday, April 1st. The first part of the evening is a “Bear Hunt”, which is an attempt to find many of the deep sky objects (DSOs) in the constellation Ursa Major, the “Big Bear” and in nearby Canes Venatici, the “Hunting Dogs”. Designed for new and experienced observers, we’ll have observing guides and fun games and certificates for finding some key objects.

The evening is also the ideal time of the year for a Messier Marathon. You’re welcome to stay as long as you want in the added effort to hunt down as many of the Messier objects as you can find in our annual Messier Marathon.

Bring your scopes and join the fun!  Setup starts at 6:30pm.


April 2022 Shows

Saturdays, April 2, 9, and 30 7:30 pm
Astronomer William Herschel

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

Saturday, April 9 10 and 11 am, 12 and 1 pm
The Zoo in the Sky

VBAS will be doing 45 minute planetarium shows on the hour during the North Alabama Zoological Society (NALZS) Kid’s Festival. All proceeds will go to NALZS.

Presented by Alex Hall and Gena Crook

Saturday, April 16 7:30 pm
Magic Carpet Tour

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!

Presented by Gena Crook

Saturday, April 23 7:30 pm
Hubble Space Telescope

The Hubble Space Telescope-one of humanity’s most successful scientific creations will turn 32 in April. For 32 years, it has been providing scientists and the public with spectacular images of most distant stars and galaxies as well as planets in our solar system. Come learn about the Hubble Space Telescope and its amazing discoveries.

Presented by Dr. Naveen Vetcha
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.