Planetarium

Digital dome planetarium

Immerse yourself in a journey through space and time in our awesome new planetarium—a community resource that has been missing in the Twin Cities since 2002. From the comfort of a plush reclining seat, you’ll feel like you’re flying through Earth’s atmosphere to the far reaches of the universe, delving inside plant life and the human body, or swimming the deep sea.

A 16-meter aluminum dome surrounds you in our new digital theater, offering larger-than-life views in front, above, and behind. Also, the dome will be constructed using the latest "seamless" technology, making it the first of its kind in the world! Scientific data merges with animations and video to create crisp and stunning imagery. 5.1 digital surround sound audio and theatrical lighting provide the finishing touches.

Guests can enjoy two types of planetarium experiences:

Featured productions

Grounded in current science issues, our featured productions combine fast-paced storytelling, beautiful visuals, and original scores. Approximately 30 minutes in length, each production will engage general audiences while also meeting PreK–12 curricular objectives. Museum educators host Q&A sessions following the show.

Live presentations

Our tradition of live presentations continues at the new Bell. Educators will guide “fly-throughs” of scientific phenomena or locations with real-time software, while providing commentary and answering audience questions.

Using this format, we can quickly respond to current events such as eclipses and space missions, drawing on productions from NASA, the Space Telescope Science Institute, U.S. Geologic Survey, National Weather Service, and other agencies. Plus, our planetarium software will be updated with the latest astronomy findings, including new exoplanet and galaxy discoveries.

Stars, land & sea

The latest technology allows us to branch out beyond astronomy. The museum’s grand opening will include an original planetarium production which follows the Big Bang through the formation of our planet and the rise of life on Earth. You’ll see examples of continuous change over time, including geologic processes that have molded the Minnesota landscape. We’ll also lease productions created at other institutions, which focus on topics ranging from the solar system to the microscopic world.

Regional & global network

The Bell Museum spearheads a statewide network of 10 planetariums, so our programs will extend from the Twin Cities to greater Minnesota. Our digital planetarium technology supports similar networking worldwide, including opportunities to bring world-renowned researchers into the planetarium via live presentations.

Name your seat

Learn how you can take your place beneath the stars at the Bell Museum by naming a seat in our new planetarium!

Support the new Bell

Every gift makes a difference. Help us build a new, world-class museum by contributing to enhanced exhibits and visitor experiences.

Learn how to support the new Bell Museum + Planetarium or contact Laura Vitko (612-624-0089, krue0192@umn.edu) for more information.