Ritter Planetarium and Brooks Observatory


Planetarium Menu



Contact Us

Main Campus

Phone: 419.530.2650

24-Hour Information Hotline


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 under 4 are free) .  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 fulldome 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.  On Saturday afternoons, we instead observe the Sun with our small mobile solar telescope.  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.


Fall 2015 SCHEDULE (September-December)

(Note the Friday time change to 7:30 pm starting in September)

From Earth to the Universe Poster

From Earth to the Universe (Ritter Debut!)

Fridays, September 4th through October 30th at 7:30 PM

This stunning voyage through space and time conveys, through sparkling sights and sounds, the Universe revealed to us by science. Viewers can revel in the splendor of the worlds in the Solar System and our scorching Sun. From Earth to the Universe takes the audience out to the colorful 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 to probe ever deeper into the Universe.

Big Bird Poster

One World, One Sky, Big Bird's Adventure

Saturdays, September 5th through October 17th at 1:00 pm

This is the perfect age-appropriate introduction to the night sky for children ages three and half to six. One World, One Sky, Big Bird’s Adventure is a fulldome 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.

Moonwitch Poster

The Moonwitch

Saturdays, October 24th through October 31st at 1:00 PM

The Moonwitch is a Halloween classic for children aged five to ten. Learn all about our closet neighbor in space, the Moon. Learn about the man in the moon, why it looks like the Moon follows you at night, and why sometimes the Moon looks so big and red. Make this part of your Halloween festivities!

Fall Skies Poster

Fall Skies over Toledo and Pluto Update

Fridays, November 6th through November 20th at 7:30 PM

This live interactive program takes a look at the stars, constellations and planets visible from right here in Toledo. We will talk about the constellations and myths associated with them, the visible planets, and exciting deep sky objects like nebulae and galaxies that you can see for yourself. Finally, we will have an update (with pictures!) from the New Horizon’s mission to Pluto.

Back to the Moon Poster

Back to the Moon for Good

Saturdays, November 7th through November 21st at 1:00 pm

Back to the Moon for Good looks at Google’s X-Prize competition to return to the Moon. This fast paced look at mankind’s exploration of the moon in the past, the present, and the future.

Santa's Secret Star Poster

Santa's Secret Star

Fridays at 7:30 pm and Saturdays at 1:00 pm, November 27th through December 19th

Santa’s Secret Star is an updated fulldome 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.


Summer 2015 SCHEDULE (April-August)

Birth of the Solar System Banner

The Birth of the Solar System

Fridays, April 3 through April 24 at 7:30 PM

Travel back in time nearly five billion years and watch the birth of our solar system. Learn how the sun and planets formed, and how astronomers have pieced together the clues of our ancient origins. Stunning graphics and a riveting soundtrack are bound to captivate everyone in this exciting new program.

Case of the Disappearing Planet Banner

The Case of the Disappearing Planet and New Horizons Update

Saturdays, April 4 through April 25, at 1:00 PM

A radio announcement… an excited phone call… and our sly gumshoe, Skye Watcher, is on the case. Explore with Skye and discover what happened to the ex-planet Pluto as she tracks down clues that stretch back hundreds of years! Audiences will have great fun with this unique program that looks into the changing status of planets in our Solar System.

Firefall Banner

The Powerhouses of the Universe

Fridays, May 1 through May 29 at 8:30 PM

Stars focuses on how stars are born, how they die, and how human understanding of them has changed over time. From Native Americans to Newton, from the electromagnetic spectrum to Einstein, audiences will explore nebulae, star clusters, pulsars, black holes, and more.

Dynamic Earth Banner

The Dynamic Earth

Fridays, June 5 through June 26 at 8:30 PM

This thrilling program examines the Earth’s climate engine, the Carbon Cycle. Your students will travel from far-flung Venus to beneath the Earth’s seas to understand why the Earth is capable of supporting life, and how that life, from plankton to people, interacts with that very same Carbon Cycle. This is the perfect program for astronomy, earth science, and biology classes!

Pluto Banner


Fridays, July 3 through July 31 at 8:30 PM

A live planetarium program that celebrates the arrival of New Horizons at this far-flung world. Launched in 2006, this probe has traveled over 3 billion miles and will be humanity’s first visit to Pluto later this summer. See Pluto like never before!

Earthquake Banner

Earthquake: Evidence of a Restless Planet

Fridays August 7 through August 28 at 8:30 pm

A sweeping geological journey, Earthquake: Evidence of a Restless Planet explores the forces that transform the surface of our planet. Fly along the San Andreas Fault before diving into the planet’s interior. Journey back in time to witness the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, and the break-up of Pangaea 200 million years ago. Learn how scientist and engineers collaborate to help society prepare for a safer environment and a safer future.

Last Updated: 11/10/15