Stars: The Original Global Positioning System
To you, they’re pretty. To sailors, they were the difference between life and death. And in the Treworgy Planetarium at Mystic Seaport, you can get a lesson in celestial navigation using the stars, planets, and heavenly bodies of the season. The Treworgy Planetarium itself was designed specially for Mystic Seaport by Armand Spitz in 1960.
Each season the Planetarium’s daily program shows you how to locate and identify the stars, planets, and constellations in the sky at that time of year. These live programs last about 30 minutes and include a few basic points about using the stars for navigation. Slide projectors in the Planetarium are used to show images of special interest. Different programs and presentations are offered throughout the year, from “Finding Your Way By the Stars” to “Celebration of Winter Stars and Light.”
Inside the Planetarium
The stars and planets are projected overhead onto the surface of a 30-foot diameter dome. About 1,200 can be shown. The planets, sun, and moon are projected by individual lights.
Other special effects that can be projected are a geocentric view of the earth, circles, triangles, meridians and coordinate grids for navigational purposes.
Current Planetarium Shows
Please note: Admission to Planetarium shows requires museum admission.
Winter Stars and the Mariner
Join us as we explore the stars and constellations of the winter night sky, while learning about how mariners navigated the seas guided by the stars.
Polar Night, Arctic Light
Join us for a unique journey above the Arctic Circle, as we travel to King William Island in Canada, the setting of our new exhibition, Death in the Ice: The Mystery of the Franklin Expedition. From the vantage point of the island where many Franklin-related artifacts were recovered, we will examine the night sky as seen in the winter time.
Knowing what we know about the fate of Franklin and his crew, it would be easy to label this part of the world a barren, impassable wasteland. However, the truth is that 1,200 people call King William Island their home, and the manner in which they live their lives amidst an unforgiving climate is fascinating, and merits exploration.
Our show will examine a time of year when the Sun never rises (“Polar Night”), while exploring the constellations as seen by Inuit Native Americans and the captivating stories associated with those shapes (“Arctic Light”).