Exploring Beyond our Planet
Clark Planetarium features three floors of free, hands-on, interactive exhibits. Indulge your curiosity as you experiment and play with the exhibits, and discover new ways to understand our world, space, the solar system, and beyond.
Our Solar System and Beyond
Our solar system, black holes, alien landscapes and more--discover fascinating places and exciting destinations.
What is our solar system really like? What do you know about the planets? Test your knowledge on our Solar System quiz! Put your nose to work and see what planets smell like. Give your own weather forecast from a location of your choice. Watch water freeze before your eyes and use a polarizer to examine the crystals. See all the large bodies in the solar system to scale size and explore on your own with our Solar System Explorer. Explore the early solar system and its early comets with our "Icy Bodies" exhibit.
SOLAR SYSTEM FACT:
Current scientific knowledge indicates that our solar system is home to 1 star (our Sun); 8 planets; 5 dwarf planets; 188 moons; 566,000 asteroids; and 3,100 comets!
A star's size determines its ultimate fate. Feel what it would be like to try to lift one cubic centimeter of white dwarf material. Compare that to a neutron star or black hole. See (or don't see) the darkest material created by humans in our "Vanta Black Hole," which is 99.97% light-absorbing.
Collect stars with your black holes or see which member of your group has more "gravity" in our Gravity Floor interactive digital exhibit. See what you look like in infrared—our hot and cold shapes can really leave a mark!
Every star you see in the night sky is bigger and brighter than our Sun!
Enter the most immersive part of the planetarium. You will stand on Jupiter's closest large moon, Io as you enjoy a close-up view of the giant planet. Want to drive a rover on Io to collect resources? Writing a simple serial program to control your rover is so easy that a child can do it!
Io is the most volcanically active body in our solar system. It can spew sulfur as high as 190 miles in the air!
Northrop Grumman Exploration Space
Let your kids have their own space mission as they explore our climber. Don't miss the galactic glow-in-the-dark mural that you can only see from the inside. Check out a real Apollo astronaut suit as well as an actual space shuttle tire. Some family members may want to tell a story on our large planet magnet board or build and fly a rocket. Mix fuel and oxygen to power your own rocket and see if who can get it to go the highest!
The heat produced by a rocket in the first moments after lift-off could heat 85,000 homes for a full day.