Planetarium

 

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:

Seating for Public Shows is on a first-come basis with maximum capacity of 94.  Doors open 30 minutes before each 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.

Summer schedule

Public Matinee Shows at 3:00 PM on  Fridays May 11-July 13, August 10-August 17
Public Shows at 8:00 PM on  Fridays May 11-July 13, August 10-August 17

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:

*Field Trip Information – Scroll Down*

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.”  May 4, 5

Phantom of the Universe, The Hunt for Dark Matter

   “Phantom of the Universe is an exciting exploration of dark matter, from the Big Bang to its anticipated discovery at the Large Hadron Collider.  The show will reveal the first hints of its existence through the eyes of Fritz Zwicky, the scientist who coined the term “dark matter.”  It describes the astral choreography witnessed by Vera Rubin in the Andromeda galaxy and then plummets deep underground to see the most sensitive dark matter detector on Earth.  From there, it journeys across space and time to the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, speeding alongside particles before they collide in visually stunning explosions of light and sound, while learning how scientists around the world are collaborating to track down the constituents of dark matter.”  May 11

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.”  May 18

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).” May 25

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.” June 1

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.”  June 8

 

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.”  June 15

 

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?”  June 22

Sunstruck

 
“Travel back to the beginning of time and experience the birth of the Sun.  Discover how it came to support life, how it threatens life as we know it, and how its energy will one day fade away.”  June 29

Seeing!

 
“Follow the journey of a single photon as it is produced in a distant star, before traveling across the vast expanse of space to land on someone’s retina.  This full dome planetarium show explores some of the fascinating processes of the cosmos, from astrophysics to the biology of the eye and brain.  Narrated by astronomer and science communicator, Neil deGrasse Tyson.”  July 6

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.”  July 13

Mayan Archaeoastronomy, Observers of the Universe

  “This show intertwines science and mythology to take the viewer on a poetic journey through how the Mayans have viewed and understood the Universe throughout history.  The stunning visuals gives the viewer the impression of being inside a beautifully stylistic painting.”  August 10

Out There, The Quest for Extrasolar Worlds

  “For thousands of years, mankind thought that the Earth was the center of the Universe.  Thanks to our curiosity, imagination and urge to explore, we now know that planets like our Earth are nothing special in the cosmos.  The Sun is just one ordinary star among hundreds of billions in our galaxy, the Milky Way.  With the worlds most powerful telescopes, we are able to explore more and more of the Universe.  What we have found so far has surpassed even the wildest expectation of scientists as well as authors of science fiction.  Most stars have planets-it turns our they are more common than we thought.  A huge diversity of different worlds is out there, just waiting to be discovered.”  August 17

May Field Trips

**FULL**

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.

 

June Field Trips

**Reservations Required**

There are only a few group planetarium shows available for the month of June. The dates are:

Friday, June 8th at 10:00 AM *Full**
Friday, June 15th at 10:00 AM *Full**
Friday, June 22nd at 10:00 AM *Full**
Friday, June 29th at 10:00 AM *9 seats still available

 

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:  CalendarBuses 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.

 

 

 

 

SUPPORT GRIFFIN:

Secure Giving link

 

ABOUT:

Contact:

Department of Physics and Astronomy

University of Central Arkansas                          phone: 501.450.5900

Conway, AR 72035                                              fax: 501.852.2286

 

 

Staff:

 

Dr. Scott  Austin                                                    saustin@uca.edu

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

 

History:

 

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.