Center for Mathematics and Science Education

The University of Mississippi

Mobile Planetarium Program

Explore the universe without ever leaving your school

The Program

The Mobile Planetarium Program is a unique experience provided by the CMSE that begins in the classroom and ends with a visit from our mobile planetarium. The best part is that this amazing experience happens without your students ever having to leave school!

The program begins with fun learning activities which are aligned with the standards, and provided to teachers to complete with their students in the comfort of their classroom. After the showing has been confirmed, teachers will choose what materials they would like to receive from a “menu of options.” These materials can be picked up from the CMSE or any of the University of Mississippi regional campuses (Desoto, Tupelo, Booneville, Grenada). After implementation of the activities, the CMSE will bring the mobile planetarium to your school for sessions of stargazing.

Program Details


The Mobile Planetarium Program lessons are applicable to students ranging from elementary through high school. Students as young as kindergarten are able to grasp concepts shown in the planetarium shows. The planetarium will hold approximately 25-30 students and sessions range from 20-45 minutes, according to the teacher’s schedule. A maximum of 350 students can be accommodated in one day.


This opportunity is available at a fraction of the cost associated with a traditional planetarium experience. Costs include $250 for one school day (max 350 students) and $0.58 /mile (federal mileage rate) incurred by round-trip travel between the school and the Center for Mathematics and Science Education (1111 Jackson Avenue West, Oxford MS 38655). If one-way travel is greater than 70 miles, a lodging expense of $150 per night will also be included. If two days are required due to having more than 350 students, the cost is $375 in addition to mileage and lodging.


- The maximum number of students that can be accommodated per day is 350.
- The planetarium will hold approximately 25 children at a time. Each session is 25-30 minutes long, according to your school’s needs. This time includes 5-8 minutes to enter/exit safely.
- The planetarium dome is roughly 16 feet in diameter and height. It is best to have space (typically a gym) that is at least 25 feet across and 17 feet high in order to set up the planetarium. Due to the sensitive nature of the projector and fan, the planetarium cannot be set up outside.
- The planetarium is housed in a large trunk and duffel bag. Please ensure CMSE employees have an entrance with handicap access to the set-up location.

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How do I sign up?

**All Mobile Planetarium Program school showing dates for the 2018-2019 school year have been filled.**

If you are interested in a Community Showing during the summer months, please contact for more information.

We are in the process of preparing for the 2019-2020 school year. The Mobile Planetarium Program dates, pricing, and logistics will depend on the funding and facilitators available.

Please complete and submit the “notify me” form below to be notified when the 2019-2020 information is released. All those who fill out this form will be given first choice.

FRequently Asked Questions

We arrive 30 minutes prior to the first session. This gives us time to set up the planetarium and address any technical issues that may arise. We stay until the last bell. Remember to include time in your schedule for facilitators to eat lunch!

The planetarium is 16 feet high with a diameter of 16 feet. It will not fit inside a classroom. It cannot be set up outside. The best location is in a gym (without PE classes in session) or on an auditorium stage (must be clear enough for students to enter/exit safely.

This really depends on the age/size of your students. For elementary students, 25-30 students can fit comfortably; for middle school students, 20-25 students can fit comfortably. If you have students with special needs (wheelchair, claustrophobia, autism, etc), please inform the facilitators so they can provide the appropriate accommodations.

We offer shows from 20 to 30 minutes long. You can choose the length that best fits your schedule. Students need at least 5 minutes between shows to enter/exit.

You can invite students with special needs to enjoy the planetarium. Invite the school administration or workers from the district office or around your school building to show off what you are doing for your students. People of all ages enjoy this experience!

Legally, there must be a faculty member in each session with facilitators to manage student behavior. You may not drop your students off or leave the dome during a presentation. You may rotate with other teachers to attend the sessions; however, they must be able to manage your students’ behavior. If student behavior cannot be managed by a faculty member, we reserve the right to end that session.

We have pulled Earth and Space related lessons from various resources for you to use with your students in the days leading up to the planetarium visit. Teachers receive a link to choose which lessons he/she would like to use in the classroom. Lessons include Learn from Images, Retrograde Motion, Telescopes Help Us See, The Solar System: Changing Perspectives, Alaska Satellite Image Comparison, GLOBE Earth System Satellite Image Sets, and Solar System Walk.

Materials can include some or all of the following: PVC pipe telescopes, various lenses , laminated image sets, planet representations, a bowling ball.

The lessons can be used at any level but correlate to specific performance objectives. You may choose to use the resource materials differently than the lessons suggest in order to accommodate the needs of your students.

You may pick up the resource materials from the nearest University of Mississippi campus (Oxford, Desoto, Tupelo, Booneville, Grenada).  If you are not within driving distance of a regional campus, other arrangements can be explored. Email Dr. Whitney Jackson at for further information.

The container will vary depending on the lessons you choose. It could be the size of a milk crate or a manila envelope.

You are not required to use the resource materials. They are available as a supplemental resource if you choose to use them.

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Daily Journal
"When you can allow the students to sit and watch the sunset and watch the stars come out one at a time, and see the night sky in a way that they can't be distracted by anything else, I do believe that makes them appreciate the world around them."
Dr. Whitney Jackson
Professional Development Coordinator