Ritter Planetarium and Brooks Observatory


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Main Campus

Phone: 419.530.2650

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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) .  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.  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.

Spring 2017 SCHEDULE (January-April)

Planet Nine Poster

Plant Nine

Fridays, January 13th through February 24th 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.

Ghost Particle Poster

Chasing the Ghost Particle

Fridays, March 3rd through April 28th at 7:30 PM

Deep in the ice at the heart of Antarctica, the biggest and strangest detector in the world waits for mysterious messengers from the cosmos. Scientists are using tiny and elusive particles called neutrinos to explore the insides of stars and galaxies. These ghostly neutrinos give us an exclusive look into exploding stars and black holes. Join us for the Toledo debut of this fascinating program.

Dinosuars Poster

Did an Asteroid Really Kill the Dinosaurs?

Saturdays, January 14th through February 25th at 1 PM

Did a space rock six miles wide slam into the Earth 66 million years ago, and wipe out 75 percent of all living species at that time, including the dinosaurs? Explore this impacts and cosmic collisions across the Solar System in this dynamic new show. This is the Toledo debut of this fun and informative children’s program.

Big Bird Poster

One World, One Sky, Big Bird's Adventure

Saturdays, March 4rd through April 29th at 1 PM

Follow 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.

Fall 2016 SCHEDULE (September-December)

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

Black Holes Poster

Black Holes, the Other Side of Infinity

Fridays, September 2nd through September 30th at 7:30 PM

Narrated by Academy-Award nominated actor Liam Neeson, this cutting-edge production features high-resolution visualizations of cosmic phenomena, working with data generated by computer simulations, to bring the current science of black holes to the dome screen. Enjoy the striking, immersive animations of the formation of the early universe, star birth and death, the collision of giant galaxies, and a simulated flight to a super- massive black hole lurking at the center of our own Milky Way Galaxy.

Zula Patrol Poster

Zula Patrol: Under the Weather

Saturdays, September 3rd through September 24th at 1 PM

Explore the solar system with the Zula Patrol! Learn all about weather, both here on Earth and on other planets as well. Experience a dust storm on Mars, a hurricane on Jupiter, and the incredible heat on Venus

Hot and Energetic Universe Poster

The Hot and Energetic Universe (Toledo Premiere)

Fridays, October 7th through October 28th at 7:30pm

The Hot and Energetic Universe presents the basic principles electromagnetic radiation and the natural phenomena related to the High Energy Astrophysics. High Energy Astrophysics plays a key role in understanding the universe. These radiations reveal the processes in the hot and violent Universe. This science also probes hot gas in clusters of galaxies, which are the most massive objects in the Universe. It also probes hot gas accreting around supermassive black holes in the centers of galaxies. Finally, high energy radiation provides important information about our own Galaxy, neutron stars, supernova remnants and stars like our Sun which emit copious amounts of high energy radiation.

TSPOG Poster

Two Small Pieces of Glass

Saturdays, October 1st through October 29th at 1pm

Two Small Pieces of Glass traces the history of the telescope from Galileo's modifications to a child's spyglass—using two small pieces of glass—to the launch of NASA's Hubble Space Telescope and the future of astronomy. It explores the wonder and discovery made by astronomers throughout the last 400 years. The students explore the Galilean Moons, Saturn's rings, and spiral structure of galaxies as well as learning about the future of astronomy.

Fall Skies Poster

The Fall Skies over Toledo

Fridays, November 4th through November 18th 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.

Back to the Moon Poster

Back to the Moon for Good

Saturdays, November 5th through November 19th 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 25th through December 17th

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.

Last Updated: 12/5/16