The Cummins Planetarium, at Rocky Mount’s Imperial Centre for the Arts & Sciences, first opened in the Spring of 2006, making it the first planetarium in North Carolina to feature a full-dome digital video projection system. The planetarium 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. Admission to the Children’s Museum & Science Center includes admission to all public shows that day. Shows begin promptly and, for the safety and comfort of all visitors, no late seating or re-admission is permitted.
Planetarium shows include something for everyone, including: flying dinosaurs, thrill rides, the search for extraterrestrial life, interstellar travel, even Muppets!
Stars: The Powerhouses of the Universe
Every star has a story. Some are as old as time. Others burn fast and bright and end their lives in powerful explosions. New stars are created every day. Our newest planetarium show focuses on the lives of stars, how they are born, how they die, and how human understanding of the stars has changed over time. Through every phase of their existence, stars release the energy that powers the Universe. Journey to the farthest reaches of our galaxy and experience the awesome beauty and destructive power of STARS. Narrated by Mark Hamill (June-August 2019 / Ages 6 to Adult)
Space exploration 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. Maneuver through microscopic landscapes of the human body to the floating around the International Space Station. Meet an animated crash test astronaut named Chad and discover the perils of human spaceflight! Do you have the right stuff? Narrated by Ewan McGregor. (Through August 2019 / Ages 6 to Adult)
Public presentations of Astronaut, Stars and TSPoG include this short guided tour the current night sky, updated regularly to reflect the changes that occur from one season to the next. Learn the names of the bright stars and how to find your way among the constellations. (Through August 2019 / Ages 6 to Adult)
ZULA PATROL: Under the Weather
From the bright orange planet Zula come the heroes of the Zula Patrol, on a mission to collect samples of weather, using their pet Gorga’s unique ability to collect and bottle all kinds of weather. When the Zula members accidentally hurt Gorga’s feelings, he decides to find another planet on which to live. Galactic villain Dark Truder then tricks Gorga into stealing the weather from other planets as part of his scheme to rule the Universe. Learn about weather phenomena here on Earth and experience the extreme weather found on other worlds with the Zula Patrol! (June-August 2019 / Ages 4-6)
Musical laser light shows in the Cummins Planetarium feature a variety of artists and musical styles interpreted through the visual magic of 3D laser graphics, animation and lighting effects. And a different laser show is presented each month. Due to the frequency of light pulses and the intensity of some color patterns, we don’t recommend laser shows for visitors who may be prone to seizures. Please note, also, that laser shows (and laser show audiences!) may be quite loud, and are not recommended for visitors under 6 years of age.
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.” (July 2019)
Laser Floyd: Dark Side of the Moon
Musical selections for this month’s laser show are from Pink Floyd’s groundbreaking 1973 classic rock album “Dark Side of the Moon,” frequently sited as one of the greatest rock albums of all time. Tracks include “Time,” “Money,” “Us & Them,” “On the Run,” and more. (August 2019)
Find out how lasers work from the Planetarium’s resident expert! A highly excitable electron presents this brief but informative demonstration before your featured Laser Show.