The planetarium at Cranbrook Institute of Science is an intimate theater that allows you to explore and experience the universe. It features a state-of-the-art Digistar star projector manufactured by Evans & Sutherland Corp., a company also renowned for its simulation products for aviation and government clients. The Digistar allows star fields and other images to be projected and moved through.

The latest round of upgrades to the planetarium, courtesy of the Michael and Adele Acheson family, offer visitors a 360 degree experience with a 5.1 surround sound system that delivers images three times brighter, crisper and more color-saturated than before. In addition, a new “green” LED lighting system allows the projection of any color in the spectrum and greater visual effects capabilities.

Interested in learning more about astronomy? Would you like to download your own star chart or sundial? The main astronomy resource page contains astronomy resources, local astronomy club information, NASA/JPL mission information, late breaking astronomy news and more!

Explore today's planetatrium program offerings as well as any other special events that might be going on at the Institute of Science! These shows are for general admission visitors. School groups and other groups may attend regularly scheduled public astronomy or entertainment shows, but are limited to 35 people per program. Private astronomy or entertainment shows for up to 75 people can be scheduled weekday mornings and afternoons throughout the school year.

Tickets are required for all programs in the planetarium in addition to museum admission. They can be purchased at the museum entrance desk. There is no late seating.

Planetarium Tickets (in addition to museum admission where appropriate)

Public Planetarium Programs

One World, One Sky

Michigan Sky Tonight

Young Stargazers

Cosmic Colors

Cosmic Colors will take you on a wondrous journey across the entire electromagnetic spectrum. Discover the many reasons for color—like why the sky is blue and why Mars is red. Take a tour within a plant leaf and journey inside the human eye. Investigate x-rays by voyaging to a monstrous black hole and then back at your doctor’s office. You will even see the actual color of a dinosaur--based on recent evidence. Get ready for an amazing adventure under a rainbow of cosmic light!

SpacePark360

SpacePark360 recreates the experience of amusement park thrill rides - roller coasters, pendulums, inverters and more. From the tops of Jupiter's clouds to the icy depths of Neptune's moon Triton, each location serves to heighten the thrilling experience. Seen from the rider's point of view, you will dip toward molten pools on Io, dodge flying particles in the rings of Uranus, hold on tight through a loop-the-loop in the canyons of Mars and more. Nine different "rides" are set to popular music in an immersive experience unlike any other and is suitable for all ages.

Holiday Programming

Let It Snow

Let It Snow features a new variety of festive classics from Frank Sinatra and Chuck Berry to Burl Ives and Brenda Lee, and includes a stunning multi-media finale by the Trans Siberian Orchestra. The soundtrack is visually enhanced with thematic animation and all-dome scenery in the audiovisual setting of the Acheson Planetarium. The 32-minute program is a fun and entertaining experience for all ages, especially families.

Mystery of the Christmas Star

Journey back 2000 years to Bethlehem as we examine the possible scientific explanation for the Star the wise men followed to find the baby Jesus. Using recorded sightings of significant astronomical occurrences during related historical events, we’ll investigate possible dates for the birth of Jesus. We'll see which of these signs in the sky could have been remarkable enough to cause the wise men to travel across the desert from Babylon to Bethlehem just to see a newborn King. This modern retelling of the Christmas story is sure to charm and captivate audiences of all ages.