Dr. Edmond E. Griffin Planetarium


The Dr. Edmond E. Griffin Planetarium, located on the University of Central Arkansas Campus in the Conway Corporation Center for the Sciences, serves as an astronomy and science education resource center for central Arkansas.  The planetarium is part of the outreach component of the Department of Physics and Astronomy, and as such, it supports astronomy teaching on campus, as well as, offers planetarium shows to school groups and the general public.


Public Shows are at 8:00 PM Fridays and Saturdays (January 12-March 17, March 30-May 5).  Seating for Public Shows is on a first-come basis with maximum capacity of 94.  Doors open 30 minutes before the show.  No admittance once show has begun.  Dates for shows are listed under the individual productions below. Please be aware that no food or drink is allowed in the Planetarium. Due to University breaks, no shows March 18-March 29.

Admission is currently free.  Donation to the Griffin Planetarium through the Secure Giving link is encouraged.

One-hour shows will include a tour of the current evening sky and one of the following full dome productions:


“The search for Dark Matter is the most pressing astrophysical problem of our time- the solution to which will help us understand why the Universe is as it is, where it came from, and how it has evolved over billions of years – the unimaginable depths of deep time, of which human life is but a flickering instant.  ” January 12, 13, 19, 20


Stars of the Pharaohs

“Travel to ancient Egypt to see how science was used to tell time, make a workable calendar, and align huge buildings.  You’ll learn about the connection the ancient Egyptians felt with the stars and various astronomical phenomena, and experience some of the most spectacular temples and tombs of the ancient world recreated in all of their original splendor.  Telly Award winner.  Narrated by John-Rhys-Davies, of the Indian Jones films and The Lord of the Rings films.”  January 26, 27; February 2, 3


The Hot and Energetic Universe

“High energy astrophysics plays a key role in understanding the universe.  These radiations reveal the processes in the hot and violent universe.  High energy astrophysics probes hot gas in clusters of galaxies, which are the most massive objects in the universe.  It also probes hot gas accreting around supermassive black holes in the centers of galaxies.  High energy radiation provides important information about our own galaxy, neutron stars, supernova remnants, and stars like our Sun which emit copious amounts of high energy radiation.  Contributors to the documentary include European Space Agency (ESA), National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), European Southern Observatory (ESO), NASA Scientific Visualization Studio, Hubble Space Telescope (ESA-Hubble), Italian Space Agency (ASI), Thales Alenia Space Italia, Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), National Institute for Astrophysics (INAF), University of Leicester, National Observatory of Athens (NOA).” February 9, 10, 16, 17


Edge of Darkness

“Edge of Darkness is the latest full dome movie produced by Evans & Sutherland.  The film features amazing scenes of places never before seen gathered by key space missions that culminated with groundbreaking discoveries in 2015.  It features a spectacular flight through the great cliffs on comet 67P, a close look at the fascinating bright “lights” on Ceres, and the first ever close ups of dwarf binary planet Pluto/Charon and its moons.  Narrated by Hayley Atwell, Agent Carter, from the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the ABC television series.” February 23, 24; March 2, 3


From Earth to the Universe

“The night sky, both beautiful and mysterious, has been the subject of campfire stories, ancient myths and awe for as long as there have been people.  A desire to comprehend the Universe may well be humanity’s oldest shared intellectual experience.  Yet only recently have we truly begun to grasp our place in the vast cosmos.  To learn about this journey of celestial discovery, from the theories of the ancient Greek astronomers to today’s grandest telescopes, we invite you to experience From Earth to the Universe v2.”  March 9, 10, 16, 17


Secret Lives of Stars

poster“Not all stars are created Equal.  Some are massive.  Others are tiny; almost insignificant.  The specific characteristics of a star will determine what type of life it will lead, how long it might live and even the type of death it will die.  We will witness the amazing variety of stars and peer into their secret lives.  Narrated by Sir Patrick Stewart of TV’s Star Trek the Next Generation and the X-men films.  Winner of 4 Telly Awards.”  March 30, 31; April 6, 7



The Dark Matter Mystery:  Exploring a Cosmic Secret

“What keeps Galaxies together?  What are the building blocks of the Universe?  What makes the Universe look the way it looks today?  Researches all around the world try to answer these questions.  We know today that approximately a quarter of the Universe is filled with a mysterious glue:  Dark Matter.  We know that is is out there.  But we have no idea what it is made out of.  This planetarium show takes you on the biggest quest of contemporary astrophysics.  You will see why we know that Dark Matter exists, and how this search is one of the most challenging and exciting searches science has to offer.  Join the scientists on their hunt for Dark Matter with experiments in space and deep underground.  Will they be able to solve the Dark Matter Mystery?”  April 13, 14, 20, 21


Invaders of Mars!

  “Under the care of Emmy award winning space artist, Don Davis, this beautifully crafted show highlights our ongoing exploration of Mars.  We explore the Martian surface as seen by Earth’s various spacecraft “invaders” and use the data gathered to explore the red planet as only CGI can.  We flay over the great chasms, canyons and volcanoes, descend amid the icy Martian polar cap, and withstand swirling dust devils.  Blinded by the planet-wide storm that often engulf this world, we emerge with a new perspective on the red planet Mars.  Narrated by Tom Baker, of the BBC’s Dr. Who.  Winner of four Telly Awards.”  April 27, 28;  May 4, 5


Group visits and school field trips for the Planetarium will be available by reservation for the Spring 2018 semester from January 16th to April 27th. Programs can be scheduled on the following: Tuesdays at 10:00 AMWednesdays at 9:45 AM, and Fridays at 11:00 AM. Planetarium programs require approximately one hour, plus 15 minutes prior to program time for check-in, restroom use, etc.  Groups arriving late may not be admitted.** Only dates still available are March 30 and April 6**

 May Field Trips

Weekdays, May 7-May 25, 2018, special combination field trips will be available where school groups will visit both the Planetarium and the Jewell Moore Nature Reserve. The reserve is the last remaining remnant of the historic Conway Prairie. With over 235 identified species of flora and fauna, JMNR is a gorgeous example of natural preservation in an urban landscape. Located on the beautiful campus of the University of Central Arkansas **Dates still available are May 21, 23, 24 and 25** 

School groups can call the Department of Physics and Astronomy at 501-450-5900 weekdays between 8:00 A.M. and 4:30 P.M. to make field trip reservations. To check available dates see Planetarium calendar here:  Calendar  Buses will drop students off at the curved pull-in spot at the east end of the CCCS Building on Western Avenue.

Admission for the 2017-18 Academic Year is free.  Donation to the Griffin Planetarium through the Secure Giving link is encouraged.






Secure Giving link




Department of Physics and Astronomy

University of Central Arkansas                          phone: 501.450.5900

Conway, AR 72035                                              fax: 501.852.2286





Dr. Scott  Austin                                          

Director of Astronomical Facilities

Associate Professor of Astronomy and Physics

Department of Physics and Astronomy

University of Central Arkansas                          phone: 501.450.5907

Conway, AR 72035                                              fax: 501.852.2286




From 1987 to 2015, the original UCA planetarium that was located in Lewis Science Center used an electromechanical planetarium projector and a thirty-foot dome to simulate the sky as seen from the surface of the Earth.


The current digital planetarium in the Conway Corporation Center for the Sciences consists of 94 seats under a forty-foot diameter dome onto which an Evans & Sutherland dual projector Digistar 5 system creates a virtual universe.  The universe can now be seen from other locations in the universe, such as, in orbit around Saturn, near a binary star system in our galaxy, or from a galaxy a several million light years from the Earth.


The building of a new planetarium was supported by Dr. Sue Griffin, a world-class neuroscientist at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, and named in memory of her husband Dr. Ed Griffin, a long-time faculty member, chair of the UCA Biology Department, and astronomy enthusiast.