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.  Maximum capacity for each time block is 94.  Doors open 30 minutes before the show.  No admittance once show has begun.  Dates for 2017 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 on October 20-21, November 24-25 or December 18 – January 10.

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:


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.”  October 27, 28; November 3, 4; December 15, 16

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).” November 10, 11, 17, 18

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.”   December 1, 2, 8, 9



Programs for school groups during the Fall 2017 semester will be available by reservation on Wednesdays at 11:00 AM and Fridays at 10:00 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.

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.  Seating is limited to 94. Buses will drop students off at the curved pull-in spot at the east end of the CCCS Building off of 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.