U of A Mobile Planetarium

Please consider making a gift of any size to help advance space science in our community through a new mobile planetarium. We appreciate your support!

U of A Mobile Planetarium

The U of A's Center for Space and Planetary Sciences is raising funds for a new mobile planetarium!




Space Hogs is a registered student organization at the University of Arkansas. We aim to promote interest in space and planetary science while educating the community through various outreach events. We host events such as talks, movie nights, planetarium shows, meteor shower observations, and both day and night sky observations. Space Hogs has been dedicated to enriching astronomy education in Northwest Arkansas for over a decade now, leading and attending hundreds of community events at schools, churches, community centers, and more.

Space Hogs members at the 2017 total solar eclipse (Fulton High School, Missouri) 




As part of the Center for Space and Planetary Sciences at the U of A, we have used the same inflatable planetarium for decades. This planetarium has been a great tool for educating K-12 students and the general public about the wonders of the universe. However, our late-1970s StarLab model has significant wear and tear from all the use it has seen over the years. 


Additionally, scientific discoveries vastly outpace the production of our current planetarium's hardware. We need to be able to present the most up-to-date and accurate information to our audiences, and a new StarLab planetarium will do a much better job facilitating this. Digital projectors can receive new programs, as opposed to the physical cylinders that we currently use which are extremely restricted in use. We will be able to show Pluto's surface, 360 degree images taken from rovers on Mars, the moons of Jupiter that were not even discovered when our current planetarium was made, and so much more.

Our team of astronomy and planetary science graduate students is working to raise money for a brand new StarLab, a mobile planetarium package that features state-of-the-art software and a five-meter portable dome. This technology immerses viewers in virtual reality field trips without having to leave the school’s campus! These engaging experiences will reach thousands of students at the University of Arkansas, as well as thousands of students and families at community events around the state. With a new StarLab, we will take our audiences on voyages to distant planets, star-filled skies, and even the center of the Earth, all guided by our graduate students and professors.

Late-1970's model of the StarLab planetarium that we currently use




Your contributions will allow us to present the newest and most accurate space science to the community, which will inspire the next generation of engineers, scientists, and astronauts!


Because we are asking the community for help in funding this, we want to be sure that the community comes first. That is why we are including opportunities to be listed as an official sponsor of the planetarium and be invited to the first, private showing in the new StarLab once full funding has been achieved. Donors at or above the $250 level will be listed as sponsors of the new planetarium and be invited to the first showing on the University of Arkansas campus. 


If you are unable to donate at this level, don't worry. We gladly accept gifts of all sizes, and as soon as we are able we'll be back on the road bringing astronomy outreach to the community. Once purchased, this planetarium will remain free to use for the entire community for many years to come, leaving a lasting impact on Northwest Arkansas and the state as a whole.




Your support of this ongoing campaign is critical on our mission to reach our full funding! The total cost of a new StarLab planetarium is $30,000, which includes the dome, projector, control system, and training. After a successful initial round of crowdfunding, we are excited to continue to raise money towards our final goal. All gifts will be earmarked for the planetarium purchase and all donors will be updated on our progress. In the unlikely event full funding is not met within two to three years, gifts will be used within the spirit given to purchase other equipment and supplies that will enhance our community outreach activities well into the future.


Thank you!

     - Space Hogs