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Cosmic Classroom Inflatable Planetarium delivers the awe and wonder of the night sky

From the start of the universe, the deaths of stars and everywhere in between we can take you and your group on a voyage to the furthest limits of imagination and knowledge.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • + Is the planetarium suitable for my group?

    If you want something different for your school, community or private group then a visit from our inflatable planetarium is a fantastic option. As a presenter led show, we can tailor our presentations to suit the needs of your group.

  • + Is the inflatable planetarium 'plug & play'?

    Our planetarium service is designed to be an interactive experience, led by presenters who are professional and adaptable. With backgrounds as teachers, scientists and astronomers: they will bring an immersive experience that will excite and enthral all audiences.

    We send 2 people ensuring opportunity for Q&A, subject to your own timetable, and all have a Disclosure & Barring Service (DBS) Enhanced Certificate and many are registered STEM Ambassadors.

  • + We are a school group: what year groups do you cover?

    We offer a wide range of presentations covering a substantial amount of the curriculum in science from reception through to A-level.

  • + Is it relevant to the national curriculum?

    As an interactive experience, session content is flexible and presentations can be geared towards specific learning objectives and curriculum targets. As a general idea, we can cover:

    Key Stage 1

    Working Scientifically 

    • asking simple questions and recognising that they can be answered in different ways
    • identifying and classifying
    • using their observations and ideas to suggest answers to questions

    Seasonal Changes

    • observe changes across the 4 seasons
    • observe and describe weather associated with the seasons and how day length varies


    Key Stage Lower 2

    Working Scientifically

    • using straightforward scientific evidence to answer questions or to support their findings.
    • recognise that they need light in order to see things and that dark is the absence of light
    • notice that light is reflected from surfaces
    • recognise that light from the sun can be dangerous and that there are ways to protect their eyes
    • recognise that shadows are formed when the light from a light source is blocked by an opaque object
    • find patterns in the way that the size of shadows change

    States of matter  

    • compare and group materials together, according to whether they are solids, liquids or gases


    Key Stage Upper 2
    Earth and Space

    • describe the movement of the Earth and other planets relative to the sun in the solar system
    • describe the movement of the moon relative to the Earth
    • describe the sun, Earth and moon as approximately spherical bodies
    • use the idea of the Earth’s rotation to explain day and night and the apparent movement of the sun across the sky


    • explain that unsupported objects fall towards the Earth because of the force of gravity acting between the Earth and the falling object
    • identify the effects of air resistance, water resistance and friction, that act between moving surfaces


    • use the idea that light travels in straight lines to explain that objects are seen because they give out or reflect light into the eye
    • explain that we see things because light travels from light sources to our eyes or from light sources to objects and then to our eyes
    • use the idea that light travels in straight lines to explain why shadows have the same shape as the objects that cast them


    Key Stage 3


    • non-contact forces: gravity forces acting at a distance on Earth and in space, forces between magnets, and forces due to static electricity
    • forces being needed to cause objects to stop or start moving, or to change their speed or direction of motion (qualitative only)


    • light waves travelling through a vacuum; speed of light
    • gravity force, weight = mass x gravitational field strength (g), on Earth g=10 N/kg, different on other planets and stars; gravity forces between Earth and Moon, and between Earth and sun (qualitative only)
    • our sun as a star, other stars in our galaxy, other galaxies
    • the seasons and the Earth’s tilt, day length at different times of year, in different hemispheres
    • the light year as a unit of astronomical distance


    Key Stage 4

    Forces and Motion

    • acceleration caused by forces; Newton’s First Law
    • weight and gravitational field strength


    • electromagnetic waves, velocity in vacuum; waves transferring energy; wavelengths and frequencies from radio to gamma-rays
    • uses in the radio, microwave, infra-red, visible, ultra-violet, X-ray and gamma-ray regions, hazardous effects on bodily tissues

    Space physics

    • the main features of the solar system
    • Life cycle of a star
    • Orbital motion, natural and artificial satellites
    • Red-shift
  • + How long does each show last?

    Each presentation lasts approx. 30 – 45 minutes, depending on your schedule.

    The whole experience will include pre-presentation points, entry / exit, and questions.

  • + Where can you set up the dome?

    The dome can be set up in any indoor venue space such as your hall or gym, and taken down at lunchtime if required. Please ensure your timetable gives sufficient time for disinfecting protocols.

    Please see “Our Domes” page for dimensions.

  • + What access requirements does the planetarium have?

    We need to unload / load our van as close as possible to the venue. Please inform us at the time of booking if there are any parking issues at your venue.

    There are several large components to unload so we must also know about venue access i.e. stairs or narrow doorways. The equipment is transported in wheeled hard cases.

    If the presentation area is on an upper floor then a lift is required for moving the equipment.

    Presenters cannot move large items or clear the space when they arrive on site, so the floor surface needs to be cleared, clean and dry prior to our set up.

    At end of the visit presenters will ensure the space is left as they found it.

  • + How long do you need to set up / pack away?

    Unloading and set up of the planetarium takes approximately 40 minutes, with similar time required for pack down and loading.

    There should not be any other activity in the venue space during set up / pack down.

    Presenters will do their very best to supply presentations to fit your schedule / timetable as arranged at the time of booking.

  • + We need the hall for lunch, is it still possible to have the planetarium?


    Additional time will be required during the day if the planetarium has to be deflated and cleared for pupil lunch requirements etc. so please factor this into your schedule.

  • + Does the planetarium have wheelchair access?

    The dome has a zipped step-through opening.

    Wheelchair access is possible, but must be discussed at the time of booking.

  • + How can I book?

    To check availability, make a booking, or just to ask further questions please fill in the contact form or contact us via email: planetarium@the-observatory.org

    Booking: When we agree a date with you, we will make a provisional booking.

    If another client requests the same date, we will give you 14 days to confirm and pay before releasing the date.

    When you have confirmed details, you will be emailed an invoice.

    The booking is confirmed when we receive payment (BACS, card or cheque).

  • + How can I pay?

    Payment accepted by BACS, card or cheque.


    BACS: Please use our Invoice Number as reference.

    HSBC   Account 02314916   Sort Code  40 -03 -21


    Cheque payee: Science Projects Ltd

  • + Can I cancel?


    If you need to cancel, this must be received by us in writing no later than 14 days prior to the visit.

    We cannot give refunds for cancellations received within 7 days of the visit unless we decide there are exceptional circumstances.

    Cancellations more than 14 days prior to the date of our visit will not be charged.

    In exceptional circumstances, we reserve the right to cancel on the day for reasons related to the venue. If this happens, we will be unable to offer a refund.

    Reasons for this might be:

    -If our staff are refused entry because they do not provide DBS certificates. Our presenters will provide DBS certificate numbers but will not provide the actual certificate. This is to maintain confidentiality of personal details.

    -If the venue is unsuitable i.e. you cannot supply the required space or access

    -If audience behaviour is inappropriate, your staff do not take responsibility for behaviour or your staff are not present with the children.

    If we  have to cancel on the day due to vehicle breakdown we will contact you as soon as possible. A full refund will be given if we are unable to reschedule.

    If we are unable to attend due to sustained severe weather we will contact you to identify alternative dates.

    If your school is closed due to severe weather you MUST contact us.

  • + What happens in the case of an emergency in the inflatable dome?

    Before entering the planetarium each group will have a short pre-presentation talk regarding safety procedures, code of conduct etc.

    Entry and exit during the presentations is not possible unless in an emergency.

    Pupils must be accompanied by a teacher / adult from the school at all times and behaviour management remains the responsibility of the school staff at all times.

  • + How can I leave feedback?

    We aim to always provide an experience which meets expectations.

    All feedback is important so please help us monitor and improve our educational programme

    An evaluation form will be given to the group leader on the day of our visit and can also be downloaded from this site at any time.

    Please help us to help you by giving us your evaluation comments.

  • + Can you make Covid adaptations?

    Our staff can wear face coverings when within 2m of other people indoors and comply with all reasonable requests made by your venue. Please discuss this at the time of booking.

    Risk Assessment available. If there are any aspects that cause you concern please get in touch to discuss what we can do for you.

  • + Do you provide other immersive experiences?

    With a range of presenter backgrounds and knowledge we can create interactive presentations on many topics – just ask!

    Also not just space….. we can use the dome for immersive education and entertainment in art, history, biology and chemistry.

    We also have some full dome films available such as:

    ?     Back to the Moon for Good

    ?     From Earth to the Universe

    ?     International Astrophotographer of the Year: a visual feast of the best in astronomy photography

    ?     Cosmic Castaways

    ?     Dark Matter

    ?     The Incredible Sun

    ?     Cell Cell Cell

  • + How much does the inflatable planetarium cost?

    From £370 (+vat) plus distance charge.

    Travel is free within a 10 mile radius of The Centre (BN27 1RN). Beyond this distance, charges apply (based on postcode).

  • + How many pupils can the planetarium accommodate?

    The 'Cosmic Classroom can accommodate up to 1 class of pupils & adults, or 25 adults. 

    The audience will be seated on the floor to achieve max capacity.

    If chairs are required then capacity is reduced.

    Matting, cushions etc. may be required.

  • + What are the dome dimensions?

    The dome has a diameter of 5 m and height of 3.25 m, and requires 2 x 13 amp power sockets.
    The inflating tube / fan require a space of 1.2 m.

    The dome has a zipped step-through opening.
    Wheelchair access is possible, but must be discussed at the time of booking.




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The Observatory Science Centre is part of Science Projects Ltd, a company limited by guarantee registered in England No: 02186073 and a registered charity No: 298542. The registered office is Unit 1 Warren Farm, Steventon, Basingstoke, Hampshire UK, RG25 3BL.