Ritter Planetarium and Brooks Observatory

Public Programs

Public programs are offered on Friday evenings throughout the year at 7:30 PM (or 8:30 from May through August) and Saturday afternoons during the academic year at 1:00 PM.  Admission to all public programs is  $7 for adults and $5 for children, seniors, and UT community members  (children 3 and under are free) .  We accept credit card and cash payments.  All shows are first come first serve and reservations are not accepted.  Doors open 30 minutes before the show, during which time you can explore the displays in out lobby or try to answer our fun astronomy-themed quiz projected inside the dome.

What you can expect:

  • A live guided tour of the Toledo night sky

    You will learn about the constellations visible from Toledo and any planets visible to the naked eye.  We also typically discuss one "hot topic" in astronomy, such as the discovery of new planets around other stars, or the latest NASA discover on Mars.
  • The full-dome presentation

    Whether we are traveling inside a black hole, taking a tour of the moon with Elmo, or learning about the skies over Toledo, you and your family will simply be amazed at the full-dome immersive show.

  • An open-ended question and answer session

    Our expert host will answer all of your astronomy questions, whether they pertain to the live tour of the night sky, the feature presentation, or any other astronomy question that you might have.

  • Observing at Brooks/Ritter Observatory

    You will be escorted over to Brooks Observatory atop McMaster Hall to view the stars and/or planets through our new 14 telescope. On the first Friday of every month, we instead observe with the Ritter 1m (40 in) telescope.  This telescope is the largest active telescope east of the Mississippi and is still used by the astronomers at UT for their research.  All observing is weather permitting!

The planetarium portion of the program is roughly an hour long, while the observing session will continue until everyone has had a chance to take a look through the telescope.

Summer & Fall 2019 SCHEDULE


Planet Nine

Planet Nine

Friday's throughout the month of September at 7:30 PM

Explore the outer edges of our Solar System. See results from the historic New Horizon’s encounter with Pluto, discover the icy inhabitants of the Kuiper Belt, and learn why astronomer think there might be a giant undiscovered planet lurking far beyond the orbit of Pluto. Produced by the Adler Planetarium this is the Toledo debut of this exciting new program.


Out There

Out There: The Quest For Extrasolar Planets

Friday: October 4th and October 11th at 7:30 PM

In the last twenty-five years astronomers have discovered thousands of new planets orbiting other stars in our Milky Way. Learn the techniques they use to find these hidden worlds from both space-based and earth-based observatories. Find out the diverse mix of planets, "Out There".


Fall Skies Over Toledo

The Fall Skies Over Toledo

Friday: November 1st, November 8th, and November 15th at 7:30 PM

The Seasonal Skies are live, interactive programs that looks at the night sky as seen from Toledo. We will look at the stars, constellations, and planets visible with the naked eye, talk about some of the associated mythologies, and show you how you can become a backyard astronomer. This program is the perfect introduction to astronomy for all ages.


The Alien Who Stole Christmas

The Alien Who Stole Christmas

Friday: November 22nd, November 29, December 6th, December 13th, and December 20th at 7:30 PM

Take a brisk walk on clear winter evening and look at the stars and constellations overhead without ever leaving your comfortable seat in the planetarium. Then tag along with Santa as he meets Mr. Freep, an alien from another world. Together they head of on a cosmic adventure taking them to the farthest regions of our Solar System. Will Santa make it back in time to deliver his toys to the children of Earth? Join for us this holiday season for The Alien Who Stole Christmas, an amusing, entertaining, and educational program for children and Santa fans of all ages.


Big Bird

One World, One Sky - Big Bird's Adventure

Saturday's: September 7th through October 12th at 1:00 PM

One World, One Sky, Big Bird’s Adventure is a full-dome show that follows Sesame Street's Big Bird and Elmo as they explore the night sky with Hu Hu Zhu, a Muppet from China. Together they take an imaginary trip from Sesame Street to the Moon, where they discover how different it is from Earth. One World, One Sky, Big Bird’s Adventure aims to nurture a child's natural sense of wonder about the night sky while connecting kids across nations through a common bond in learning about the sky.


Cosmic Colors

Cosmic Colors: An Adventure Along the Spectrum

Saturday's: November 2nd through November 16th at 1:00 PM

Enjoy a wondrous journey through the world of color and beyond! Discover why the sky is blue, why Mars is red, and the reason why many things are the color that they are. Tour the interior of a plant leaf, voyage through a human eye, then step into the invisible universe as you investigate x-rays by taking on a monstrous black hole. Explore the world of infrared in a roaring fire, and even discover what may have been the actual color of a dinosaur. Explore the amazing rainbow of cosmic light through Cosmic Colors, an original production of the Daniel M. Soref Planetarium in cooperation with the Great Lakes Planetarium Association.


Santa's Secret Star

Santa's Secret Star

Saturday's: November 23rd through December 21st at 1:00 PM

Santa’s Secret Star is an updated full-dome version of our classic children’s program by the same name. Follow along as Rudolph introduces Santa to his friends the constellations. Watch how the constellations help Santa and his crew make it back to the North Pole. Learn how you can navigate by the stars just like Santa.

Last Updated: 9/13/19