Attractions at the Planetarium
Sir Thomas Brisbane Planetarium has astronomy programs and fascinating displays that visitors of all ages can enjoy. The Planetarium's many attractions include:
- Cosmic Skydome
- Display Zone, including the new exhibition Skylore: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Astronomy
- Mini Theatre
- Galaxy Gift Shop
- Sundial Courtyard.
The highlight of any visit to the Planetarium is a show in the Cosmic Skydome. Most public shows include a full-dome, immersive presentation and finish with a guided tour of the Brisbane sky, when the astronomer will point out planets, stars, and constellations which are visible that night.
In 2013, a major refurbishment allowed for the installation of a new optical star projector, replacing the Zeiss Projector installed in 1978. The new projector recreates a stunning realistic night sky on a new, improved 12.5m diameter projection dome.
The Display Zone includes two areas: the foyer and the gallery.
The foyer features interesting artefacts and displays, including fragments of asteroids, spacecraft models and a well-known replica of Neil Armstrong’s Apollo spacesuit. You can also inspect the old Zeiss star projector, retired from the Skydome in 2010.
The gallery leads you through the Solar System, past star formations in the Milky Way, to external galaxies and the Big Bang. Images from the Hubble Space Telescope and major observatories provide detailed views of many wonders of the Universe. A section on the history of astronomy compares modern telescopes with ancient instruments like stone circles and astrolabes.
Sir Thomas Brisbane
The new display about Sir Thomas Brisbane contains information about his life, his time as Governor of New South Wales, and of his astronomical work. There is also a relief panel of Sir Thomas, and a recent bronze bust created by local sculptor, Peter Dornan, as well as other items associated with Sir Thomas. The display also houses a time capsule to be opened in 2037.
Skylore: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Astronomy
The Planetarium's Display Zone is now home to Skylore: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Astronomy.
The exhibit features some of Australia's leading Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elders sharing their star knowledge for the first time. The content within this exhibition was sourced and curated by Dr Duane Hamacher, an astronomer and academic working closely with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
While viewing this exhibit, it is important to remember that the first Australians - Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people - have looked to the stars for tens of thousands of years. The sky is a map of wisdom and knowledge and like the oral tradition of sharing information, it continues to be passed down to younger generations.
Brisbane City Council acknowledges the Traditional Owners of this land and pays respect to Elders, past, present, and emerging. Skylore is a permanent reminder of the legacy from the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games Reconciliation Action Plan and its vision towards a reconciled Australia.
For those who seek a closer look at Brisbane’s night sky, join our astronomers for a glimpse into the fascinating world of astronomy.
Viewing targets will differ depending on the month, the weather and the movements of the Moon. The types of objects usually seen through the eyepiece include the Moon, planets and star clusters.
These night tours occur on selected Saturday nights and are subject to weather conditions, position of objects in the sky and the time of year.
Make a booking for the observatory on the day you’d like to attend. The observatory is not wheelchair accessible. Access is via a steep staircase and a minimum patron height of 150cm is required due to the height of telescope eyepiece.
Galaxy Gift Shop
The Planetarium’s Galaxy Gift Shop stocks a wide range of astronomy and general science merchandise including star charts, project kits, books, spacecraft models, fossils, souvenirs and novelty items. Teacher discounts apply to educational items.
Located on the eastern side of the Planetarium, the Sundial Courtyard features a giant concrete, steel and glass sundial, which is used to tell the time when the Sun is shining, and is accurate to within 10 minutes. The Sundial Courtyard is a great spot to sit, relax and take in the surrounds.