Sharpe Reservation's Gustafson Planetarium

The Gustafson Planetarium is a fully-equipped 49 seat theatre where audiences can learn about the wonders of the night sky.  Our operators will present a show that best suits each topic.  The cost per show is $150.00 for a 45 minute to one hour presentation.  All Shows will point out familiar constellations and current objects visible in the sky (planet locations, comets, meteor showers and other celestial events).

Our Full Dome “Warped Media” projector launched the Gustafson Planetarium into the 21st Century with shows that will leave a lasting impression.

Take a look at the shows we have available...

Tour of the eight planets – Featuring Full Dome Show called “New Horizons” (recommend for elementary age)

  • Following the comet Hale Bop students discover the wonders of the planets.
  • Volcanoes on Jupiter's moon, unique geysers' on Neptune and fly through Saturn's rings.
  • Observe the surfaces of planets and moons.

Featuring Full Dome Show called “IBEX, The Search for the Edge of the Solar System" (recommended for Middle and High School)

  • Learn about the sun and its family of planets
  • How space craft like IBEX are built and launched into space.
  • Learn about the sun's invisible bubble that surrounds the solar system.
  • The Sun's place and journey through the Milky Way galaxy.

The Search for Life - Featuring Full Dome Show called "Cosmic Safari"

  • Let your imagination take flight as we imagine life on hypothetical planets. 
  • The Kepler and Space Telescope and its search for planets and solar systems around other stars.
  • The show will us back home to Earth.

The Telescope - Featuring Full Dome Show called "Two Small Pieces of Glass"

  • The historical invention of the telescope and how it transformed our view of the Cosmos.
  • Introduction to Spectroscopy, “the study of light”. 
  • Brief overview of the Milky Way galaxy and its place in the Universe.
  • Includes some basic information on the solar system.

Focus on Mars – Featuring Full Dome Show “Mars Quest”

  • This show will focus on the historical myths and misconceptions to the modern day invasion of Mars by earth rovers and probes.
  • Mars is the most earthlike planet in our solar system and once had a liquid ocean
  • Potential primitive life forms may have existed or may exist hidden somewhere on the planet.

Other special features can be incorporated in the above shows as they become available; ex. Tribute to the Space Shuttle. 

To book a program, contact the program office at Sharpe Reservation. Planetarium shows can be scheduled as part of a school program or they can be scheduled separately. Current cost for a show is $150.00.

Shows will be tailored to an audience’s age and knowledge.  To enhance your planetarium experience other programs can be added (daytime shows only) including:

  • Solar System Walk: Imagine taking a walking tour of the solar system.  When the sun and its planets are reduced to a manageable scale the solar system is easily and quickly traversed at Sharpe Reservation.  Students will see the inner rocky planets as tiny objects closely circling the sun while the outer gaseous giants circle the sun at vastly greater distances. 
  • Star Clocks**: The rotating Earth gives the illusion that the stars travel across the nighttime sky.  Conveniently, this allowed ancient societies to use the position of the big and little dipper as a giant time-keeping device.  Students will cut out and assemble their own Star Clock that they can take home and use in their own backyard.
  • Night Hikes**: From the ancients comes this “primitive” way of telling time. As the earth spins on its axis to give us night and day, the sun appears to creep across the sky and shadows shift to produce the hour. Have your students delve into the world of dials and gnomons, and solstices and equinoxes, as they make and test their own sundials. This activity is the perfect complement to the planetarium.

** additional cost