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A planetarium is a type of cinema or theatre built mainly for presenting educational and entertaining shows about astronomy and the night sky. Shows usually last from 20 minutes to 1 hour. During the show the lights are dimmed and equipment projects stars, planets and other celestial bodies onto the domed ceiling and realistically simulate their positions and movements.

Planetariums are able to take you on a journey through space and time. The digital projection technology enables you to get up close to the moon, planets and even volcanoes on planets such as Mars.


Many planetariums are located within museums and can often be part of the day out. A number of planetarium have several shows featuring aspects of the night sky. The majority of planetariums are quite small and will only hold about 40 - 50 visitors and sometimes you may need to book tickets.

There are also a number of sites in the UK that are purpose built research centres and some of these also have Planetariums. Probably the most famous are those at the Royal Observatory in Greenwich and Jodrell Bank. Liverpool John Moores University is building a fully robotic 2 meter telescope in Las Palma. When this is complete some observational time will be dedicated to UK schools and colleges.


Jodrell Bank News

Square Kilometre Array Organisation headquarters, Jodrell Bank, Cheshire.

At their meeting on 29 April, the Members of the  (SKA) Organisation decided that negotiations should start with the UK government to locate the permanent headquarters of the SKA project in the UK, at the University of Manchester’s Jodrell Bank site.

This is an artist’s impression of the expansion to the current headquarters at Jodrell Bank.

Credit: The University of Manchester


Useful Links

Live Satellite tracking

This site provides live data from GPS, Glonass, Beidou, Galileo, Iridum and Globalstar satillites. It is also possible to get live streaming images from the International Space Station. Please note that the image is sometimes black, this is not a problem with the feed.

Broadcast live streaming video with sound on Ustream - Download an app from Nasa. This will provide a way for you to learn about your home planet, our solar system, the universe beyond and the spacecraft exploring them. - The Bradford Robotic Telescope is a collection of telescopes and other instruments on Mount Teide, Tenerife. It is available to use for all, using this web site. There is a monthly charge of £3 to book time on the telescope. - International Space Station detectector is an app that will help you to spot the ISS as it passes overhead. Alerts can be set to tell you when and where to look.