Presentation Descriptions
Private Shows           Public Shows           Pre-School           Bellingham Public Schools

Private Shows

The Spanel Planetarium private show offerings are ideal for school field trips, scouts, birthday events, corporate staff outings, etc. Presentations last about 50 minutes to an hour and include three sections.

1. Star Talk: A live laser pointer presentation is given about seasonal constellations and starlore (multi-cultural mythology and story-telling), stellar evolution (star-planet birth and development), and cosmology (galaxies and the universe as a whole).
Time, approx. 20 minutes.
2. Q&A Session: Soft lights are turned up and the audience is invited to ask questions about astronomy or the planetarium. There are often current news events that are presented and discussed during this session.
Time, approx. 10 minutes.
3. Full-dome Video: A professionally produced video is presented.
Time approx. 25 minutes.

Currently we have five video choices available for private engagements.

Stars of the Pharaohs
Audiences will be taken back 6,000 years to the land of ancient Egypt and the stars in its desert skies. Learn how the Sun, Orion and the ancient Pole Star may have been used to align Egypt's monumental temples and pyramids. Journey through this ancient culture to see the earliest calendar ever devised, based on the rising of the star Sirius and its ability to predict the annual flooding of the Nile River. Narrated by actor John Rhys-Davies who played Gimli in The Lord of the Rings trilogy.
Back to the Moon for Good
The show opens with the first era of space exploration in the late 1960s and early 1970s. We see what that era of landers and orbiters taught us about our nearest neighbor including the discovery of the Moon's origin, composition, structure and the accessibility of raw materials on its surface. The Google Lunar XPRIZE is designed to democratize space and create new opportunities for eventual human and robotic presence on the Moon. We see the engineering and innovation steps taken by the internationally distributed teams competing to land a spacecraft on the Moon and vie for additional prizes. We highlight the human spirit of competition and collaboration as teams take on this audacious challenge. Who will win the $30 million Google Lunar XPRIZE?
Wonders of the Universe
Peer deep into space through the eyes of the orbiting Hubble Space Telescope and travel back billions of years in time to witness the birth of the universe. On this breathtaking excursion you'll witness the formation of galaxies and explore some of the most wondrous nebulae and astronomical structures yet discovered. As your travels continue, you'll fly deep into our own Milky Way galaxy and return home to Earth on a spectacular tour through the solar system.
Two Small Pieces of Glass - The Amazing Telescope
The show follows two students as they interact with a female astronomer at a local star party. Along the way, the students learn the history of the telescope from Galileo's modifications of a child's spyglass, to the launch of the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope and the future of astronomy. Aiming to engage and appeal to audiences of all ages, the show explores the wonder and discovery made by astronomers throughout the last 400 years.
IBEX: Search for the Edge of the Solar System
Designed for visitors with an appreciation for the challenges of space science and a desire to learn more about science research, IBEX: Search for the Edge of the Solar System follows the creation of NASA's Interstellar Boundary Explorer (IBEX). Audiences will get an in-depth look at the mission and how IBEX is collecting high-speed atoms to create a map of our Solar System's boundary. Narrated by two inquisitive teenagers, audiences will hear from the scientists and engineers that developed the IBEX mission and created the spacecraft, and get the latest updates on the mission's discoveries.


Private Shows           Public Shows           Pre-School           Bellingham Public Schools

Public Shows

Presentations last about 50 minutes to an hour and includes three sections.

1. Star Talk: a live laser pointer presentation is given about seasonal constellations and starlore (multi-cultural mythology and story-telling), stellar evolution (star birth and development), and cosmology (galaxies and the universe as a whole).
Time, approx. 20 minutes.
2. Q&A Session: Soft lights are turned up and the audience is invited to ask questions about astronomy or the planetarium. There are often current news events that are presented and discussed during this session.
Time, approx. 10 minutes.
3. Full-dome Video: A professionally produced film usually featuring celebrity narration.
Time approx. 25 minutes.

Currently we have three videos being scheduled on alternating dates for public engagements.

Dynamic Earth
The award-winning Dynamic Earth explores the inner workings of Earth's climate system. With visualizations based on satellite monitoring data and advanced supercomputer simulations, this cutting-edge production follows a trail of energy that flows from the Sun into the interlocking systems that shape our climate: the atmosphere, oceans, and the biosphere. Audiences will ride along on swirling ocean and wind currents, dive into the heart of a monster hurricane, come face-to-face with sharks and gigantic whales, and fly into roiling volcanoes. Narrated by Academy-Award nominated actor Liam Neeson.
Secret Lives of Stars
Not all stars are created equal. Some are huge, and quite massive. Others seem tiny and almost insignificant by comparison. The specific characteristics of a star will determine what type of life it will lead, how long it might live, and even the type of death it will die. We will witness all the amazing variety of stars and peer into their secret lives. Narrated by Sir Patrick Stewart of TV's Star Trek: The Next Generation and the X-Men films.
From Earth to the Universe
The night sky, both beautiful and mysterious, has been the subject of campfire stories, ancient myths and awe for as long as there have been people. A desire to comprehend the Universe may well be humanity's oldest shared intellectual experience. Yet only recently have we truly begun to grasp our place in the vast cosmos. Learn about this journey of celestial discovery, from the theories of the ancient Greek astronomers to today's grandest telescopes.

Viewers can revel in the splendour of the various worlds in the Solar System and the ferocity of the scorching Sun. From Earth to the Universe then leaves our home to take the audience out to the colourful birthplaces and burial grounds of stars, and still further out, beyond the Milky Way, to the unimaginable immensity of a myriad galaxies. Along the way, the audience will learn about the history of astronomy, the invention of the telescope, and today's giant telescopes that allow us continue to probe ever deeper into the Universe.


Private Shows           Public Shows           Pre-School           Bellingham Public Schools

Pre-school Groups

Planetarium presentations are generally designed for people ages 8 and above, with a darkened room and mysterious mood-setting music. We do have one presentation available for a younger set.

1. A short laser pointer presentation is given with light-hearted story-telling.
Time, approx. 10 minutes.
2. A fly-by tour of the solar system.
Time, approx. 10 minutes.
3. Full-dome Video: A professionally produced film about powered flight is presented.
Time approx. 25 minutes.
Flight Adventures
Dreams of flying, model aircraft, and a young girl and her grandfather come together in this multi-media planetarium show about the science of aeronautics. Learn about famous inventors and aviators of the past and the pioneers who first revealed the four forces of flight. See images of aircraft past, present, and future, and imagine where flight might take us.


Private Shows           Public Shows           Pre-School           Bellingham Public Schools

Bellingham Public Schools - NGSS

Spanel Planetarium is proudly participating in a cooperative effort to advance the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) in our local elementary public schools. The presentations have been carefully designed in cooperation with school district officials and faculty to coordinate with the latest science curriculum of 4th and 5th grade students. Funding for the program is being provided by the BP Corporation. These presentations are also available to students of other school districts which provide their own funding.

1. A demonstration of the phases of the moon, followed by a general Q&A about the moon.
2. A demonstration of the causes of the seasons, followed by a Q&A about the seasons.
3. A feature video presentation:
Two Small Pieces of Glass - The Amazing Telescope
The show follows two students as they interact with a female astronomer at a local star party. Along the way, the students learn the history of the telescope from Galileo's modifications of a child's spyglass, to the launch of the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope and the future of astronomy. Aiming to engage and appeal to audiences of all ages, the show explores the wonder and discovery made by astronomers throughout the last 400 years.

Please silence cell phones and keep them put away during all presentations.

Private Shows           Public Shows           Pre-School           Bellingham Public Schools