The Cummins Planetarium, housed at the Imperial Centre for the Arts & Sciences, first opened its doors in the Spring of 2006, making it the first planetarium in North Carolina to feature a full-dome video projection system. The planetarium also features a thirty-foot dome, tilted forward slightly to maximize viewing for audiences of up to 50 people. Admission to all shows is on a first-come, first-served basis. Shows begin promptly, and no late seating or re-admissions are permitted. And remember, planetarium admission is now included with admission to the Children’s Museum & Science Center, so you can enjoy all the shows you want during your visit!
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Planetarium’s exciting line-up of shows for 2017 features topics as diverse as: the impact of comets and asteroids on Earth, the search for life elsewhere in the universe, and the thrills and dangers of human space flight.
Narrated by Star Trek’s George Takei, our newest planetarium show explores asteroids, comets, and the hard-hitting stories of our cosmic origins. Discover how asteroids and comets have collided with Earth to change the course of life and shape the world we know today. Embark on a dynamic journey on the trail of asteroids and comets, get an up close look at advanced the technologies that allow scientists to detect potentially dangerous asteroids before they reach Earth, and visualize cosmic events billions of years in the making. Incoming! explores the past, present, and future of our solar system and the landmark discoveries scientists have made by sending spacecraft to visit these tiny, distant worlds.
(February-August 2017 / Ages 6 to adult)
Join the search for life in the universe. This begins with the search for a search for water, something required by all life on our planet. Visit the other worlds of our solar system, their moons, and beyond, looking for potential sources of liquid water. Oasis in Space offers a new perspective on a substance of obvious importance to our planet.
(February-May 2017 / Ages 6 to adult)
The exploration of space is the greatest endeavor that humankind has ever undertaken. What does it take to become an astronaut? Explore the amazing worlds of inner and outer space, from floating around the International Space Station to maneuvering through microscopic landscapes of the human body. Meet the animated test astronaut Chad and discover the perils of human spaceflight! Narrated by Ewan McGregor. Produced by the National Space Centre.
(June-August 2017 / Ages 6 to adult)
Big Bird’s Adventure is intended as a gentle introduction to the Planetarium setting for our very youngest visitors. Join Big Bird and some new Sesame Street friends, on a fun-filled, musical journey to the Moon and back. Along the way you can sing along, while learning about the Sun and stars.
(February-August / Ages 3-6)
Public presentations of Incoming!, Oasis in Space and Astronaut include a short guided tour of the bright stars and constellations in our current evening sky! This mini-show is updated regularly to reflect changes in our night sky that occur with each season. (Included with admission)
Musical laser light shows in the Cummins Planetarium feature a variety of artists and musical styles interpreted through the visual wizardry of 3D laser graphics, animation and lighting effects. Please note that laser shows and laser show audiences may be loud, and are not recommended for visitors under 6 years of age.
A laser light tribute to the Motown sound, in which rhythm and blues, as well as soul are infused with a distinct pop influence. Presented in observance of Black History Month, Laser Motown features eye-popping laser graphics that bring to light the music of artists including Diana Ross and the Supremes, the Temptations, Marvin Gaye, Smokey Robinson, the Four Tops and more!
The King of Pop is gone, but not forgotten. Celebrate the music of Michael Jackson interpreted through the magic of colorful laser graphics and animation. Songs include Bad, Beat It, Thriller, The Way You Make Me Feel, Don’t Stop, and more!
A laser light celebration of musical diversity around the world. Authentic sounds and vibrant laser generated images illustrate cultures from over a dozen locations including Africa, Ukraine, Central & South America, Europe, Asia, Australia, the Mediterranean and others.
Enjoy the most enchanting musical numbers from the beloved 1939 film, “The Wizard of OZ.” Colorful laser animation brings new life to Dorothy, Toto, Scarecrow, Cowardly Lion, Tin Man, Witches (good and bad), as well as the great and powerful Oz himself.
Dazzling laser graphics and animation in a musical tribute to life in the USA. Featured musical artists include KISS, R. Kelly, Garth Brooks, John Mellencamp, Brooks & Dunn, Lee Greenwood, Celine Dion and more.
Charming animation and psychedelic laser visuals celebrate the musical phenomenon that included John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr. Return to a more innocent time with tracks including “Octopus’s Garden,” “Help!,” “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da,” “Get Back,” “Yesterday,” and “Strawberry Fields.”
A straight up rock ‘n’ roll showcase. Artists include Laser Classic Rock Pink Floyd, Queen, RUSH, AC/DC, Aerosmith, Jimi Hendrix, led Zeppelin
What are lasers and how do they work? Find out from the Planetarium’s expert. A highly excitable electron presents a brief but informative demonstration right before your featured laser show.
(Included with admission)