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!
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.
(September-December 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.
(September-December 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.
(September-December / Ages 3-6)
Returning each year for the holiday season, the rich holiday soundtrack and lovely visuals of Season of Light make this show a perennial family favorite. Learn the bright stars and constellations of the winter night sky, and investigate the mystery of the Star of Bethlehem, while uncovering the fascinating history and astronomy behind celebrations taking place during this special time of year (December 2017 / ages 7 to adult)
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.
Enjoy all the classic tracks from Pink Floyd’s groundbreaking Dark Side of the Moon album including Breathe, On the Run, Time, Breathe (Reprise), The Great Gig in the Sky, Money, Us and Them, Any Color You Like, Brain Damage, Eclipse
(September 2017, Ages 6 to Adult)
Rock out to “Monster Mash” and other spooky-kooky favorites including music from Ghostbusters, Weird Science, Beetlejuice, Rocky Horror, and artists including Stevie Wonder, INXS, Danny Elfman, John Williams and more. Join us under the dome for a frightfully good time!
(October 2017, Ages 6 to Adult)
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!
Laser Holidays has become a perennial family favorite. Ring in the season with your favorite classic and contemporary holiday tunes. Artists include Bing Crosby, Annie Lennox, Vince Geraldi, Manheim Steamroller, and more!
(December 2017, Ages 6 to Adult)
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)