Planetarium Programs

PlanetariumPlanetarium visits complement any Mystic Seaport Museum tour. For thousands of years, mariners used the sun, moon, planets, and stars to figure out where they were, and where they were going. Our Treworgy Planetarium programs illustrate the night sky for students, while providing an in-depth look at navigation and astronomy. In addition to the topics listed below, the staff in the Planetarium would be happy to design a customized program for your class to support your curriculum or interests. To discuss program possibilities, please call 860.572.5302, ext. 5150 or email planetarium@mysticseaport.org.

Zoo in the Sky    Grades: Pre-K-3        30 minutes

Nearly half of the 88 constellations in the night sky are some kind of animal! Using stories of some of these animals, we will unlock your students’ imaginations to tour the “zoo” in the sky!

Stars and Constellations    Grades: Pre-K-12               30 minutes or 50 minutes

Discover the beauty of the dark night sky that has inspired poets and guided mariners. Together, we will learn how to find the bright stars and constellations of the current season, while we share a story or two about them.

Great Explorers   Grades: 3-5                 30 minutes

Examine navigation through the lens of famous explorers. Students will view the instruments and tools used by Columbus, Magellan, and Cook, to ultimately learn how technological advancements over the years have led to more precise navigation around the globe.

The Morgan’s Guiding Stars      Grades: 4-12               30 minutes

What did the night sky look like to whalers aboard the Charles W. Morgan? Find out as we use excerpts from the vessel’s logbooks to display the night sky views at various dates, times, latitudes, and longitudes of her storied history.

Stars of the Vikings                      Grades: 4-12               30 minutes

Experience a fresh take on the night sky, as we examine the constellations as seen by Norse people while learning about some of the legends associated with these ancient seafarers.

Design a Mission                                Grades: 4-12               60 minutes

This program introduces students to the engineering process behind space exploration missions. Students will be organized into teams and given the chance to customize their very own spacecraft and mission, with the success of their mission depending on careful, calculated choices. After designing their spacecraft, student teams will witness a simulation of their mission, ending with either success or failure. Follow-up discussions will explore why the missions did or did not succeed.

Celestial Navigation Challenge       Grades: 5-12               90 minutes

This on-site team building program provides a practical application of celestial navigation in the context of one of the Museum’s signature vessels. We transport students back to the era when the Joseph Conrad was sailing around the world, and after viewing the stars in a “mystery location”, student teams (crews) will try to figure out precisely where we are. Each crew member has a role to play in the Conrad Challenge, and only by working together can the crews pinpoint their location on the globe.

Finding Our Way                          Grades: 6-12               30 minutes or 50 minutes

In an interdisciplinary math and science lesson, we will introduce the basic concepts of celestial navigation, including latitude, longitude, and basic direction-finding. The importance of twilight to sailors and the significance of the North Star are also explored.

Stars of a Voyage to Freedom: Amistad    Grades: 6-12               30 minutes

The story of the Amistad is not just an American story – it is specifically a Connecticut story! Experience the changes in the night sky as seen by the Amistad Africans on their return trip to Sierra Leone, and discover the role that celestial navigation played in this local story.