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.


Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00 PM,  January 13-May 20, 2017, excluding March 24 & 25 due to UCA Spring Break. Reservations are not required for the public shows and the doors open at 7:30 PM. Maximum capacity is 94.

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:

Two Small Pieces of Glass – The Amazing Telescope

two-small-pieces-of-glass“This show follows two students as they interact with a female astronomer at a local star party. Along the way, the students learn the history of the telescope from Galileo’s modifications to a child’s spyglass — using two small pieces of glass — to the launch of the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope and the future of astronomy. Aiming to engage and appeal to audiences of all ages, the show explores the wonder and discovery made by astronomers throughout the last 400 years.” January 13, 14, 20, 21;  March 10, 11, 17, 18;  May 12, 13, 19, 20

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.” January 27, 28;  February 3, 4;  March 31;  April 1, 7, 8

Invaders of Mars!

poster-2“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 fly over the great chasms, canyons, and volcanoes, second 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.” February 10, 11, 17, 18;  April 14, 15, 21, 22

Stars of the Pharaohs

poster-1“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 Indiana Jones films and The Lord of the Rings films.”  February 24, 25; March 3, 4; April 28, 29; May 5, 6


Programs for school groups are scheduled for Wednesdays and Thursdays at 10:00 A.M.  Planetarium programs require approximately one hour, plus 15 minutes for check-in, restroom use, etc.  Groups arriving late may not be admitted. **No visits on March 22-23, 2017 due to UCA Spring Break**

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 arrange field trips to make reservations.  Seating is limited to 93. Buses will drop students off at the curved pull-in spot at the east end of the CCCS Building off of Western Avenue.

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









Secure Giving:




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 93 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.