June Friends' Weekend: PLANETS

Our final Friends’ Weekend of the season is all about planets.

We are going to have live presentations by two renowned researchers and science communicators, exciting full-dome movies, and a hands-on educational activity for children. It’s all happening on June 17 – 19. Make your reservations now to be sure to get a seat!

Here are some of the events to look forward to:


Dynamic Earth explores the inner workings of Earth’s great life support system: the global climate. With visualizations based on satellite monitoring data and advanced supercomputer simulations, you will ride along on swirling ocean and wind currents, dive into the heart of a monster hurricane, come face-to-face with sharks and gigantic whales, and fly into roiling volcanoes.


Michael Neufeld Lecture: “How We Got To Pluto”

Michael Neufeld

Dr. Michael J. Neufeld is a Senior Curator at the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum in the Division of Space History. He’s going to talk about NASA’s mission to Pluto, New Horizons. A version of his interesting presentation about the institutional politics and battles over funding for space exploration appeared as the cover story for the April, 2016 Physics Today.

Full Dome Movie: Exploding Universe

From supernovas to volcanoes, this film looks at the beautiful and creative power of explosive phenomena to shape planets, stars, and the entire universe.

Heidi Hammel Lecture: “Exploring the Solar System with the Hubble Space Telescope”


Astronomer Heidi Hammel has been profiled by the New York Times and Newsweek Magazine, and was identified as one of the 50 most important women in science by Discover Magazine in 2002. She’ll show us colliding comets, active aurorae, Martian storms, and much more.

Perfect Little Planet

Fly over the surface of Pluto, dive down the ice cliffs of Miranda, sail through the rings of Saturn, feel the lightning storms at Jupiter and walk on the surface of Mars.

This full dome movie is suitable for all ages, and a favorite of younger children.

Measure the Solar System

Between the two Sunday afternoon films, we’ll offer a hands-on activity for children that will teach them about the sizes of the planets and the distances between objects in the Solar System.

Magic Tree House: Space Mission

Travel with the brother-sister duo Jack and Annie in their Magic Tree House® as they proceed to answer the questions left for them in a mysterious note signed “-M.” The show begins with narration by Mary Pope Osborne, author of the best-selling Magic Tree House® children’s book series. Magic Tree House® Space Mission is best suited for ages 5 to 12 and their families. Older children familiar with the book series may also enjoy the show.

Download a poster (279KB PDF) for a billboard near you.

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→ Main Friends of the Planetarium Page ←

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