September 14, 2023
Brainerd Schools are back up and running for the 2023/24 school year. The Forestview Planetarium schedule is filling up with groups from our school district as well as surrounding districts. This is a big year astronomically with two solar eclipses crossing the skies over the United States. Unfortunately, you will need to travel to see them in their totality. The first one will happen next month on October 14. It is an annular solar eclipse which means the moon is a little farther away in its orbit and will not completely cover the sun. You would need protective eyewear or an indirect viewing technique to see the eclipse. To see it in its totality, you will have to travel west somewhere between a line from southern Texas up to south central Oregon. In Baxter, MN we will see about a 45% coverage of the sun during the eclipse. In Minnesota, the eclipse will begin at about 9:00am. You will need to wear protective eyewear to see this event. You can purchase special glasses online. Regular sunglasses and not good enough to protect your eyes during this eclipse. These events are amazing and hopefully you will get a chance to see both eclipses. More information about the April eclipse will be posted at a later date.
January 10, 2023
Happy New Year! Welcome to 2023 everyone. The new year starts with a bang as comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF) will be making a relatively close approach to Earth in January and early February, coming within 28 million miles of our planet, according to Space.com. Based on the comet's estimated orbit, experts say this is the first time it will have passed through our inner solar system in 50,000 years. This ancient space rock may be so bright during this visit that it could be visible to the naked eye. It should easily be visible with telescopes and binoculars. The comet will be making its closest approach to the sun on Jan. 12 and its closest approach to Earth on Feb. 2. Viewers in our part of the world should be able to see the comet in the pre-dawn skies. It will be located above the horizon between the Big and Little Dippers. The Virtual Telescope Project is hosting a free livestream of the comet beginning at 11:00 p.m. EST on Jan. 12. The livestream will be shared on the project's website.
November 2, 2022
Another lunar eclipse will soon grace our skies on November 8—but you’ll need to get up early, clear skies permitting. If cloudy, go back to sleep. It starts a little after 3:09 a.m.; that’s a bit early. The best time to see this “blood moon” is around 5:00 a.m. CST. Sure, that’s still early, but it’s a gorgeous sight! This is the midpoint of the total lunar eclipse. The moon will be in the deepest part of the Earth’s shadow and will shine its darkest red hue. This reddish moon changes a little bit with every eclipse. The moon will be high enough (17° altitude) to see in the WNW sky, but low enough where our thickening atmosphere may give it a richer color. By 6:00 a.m. CST, the moon will have descended to only 6° above the WNW horizon. It will be difficult to see if you have buildings or trees blocking your view. Plus, it will be getting bright as the sun nears the ESE horizon. Get up early and good luck...the next full lunar eclipse is not until March 13-14, 2025!
September 6, 2022
Greetings from the Forestview Planetarium! My name is Tim Peabody and I will be taking over the director duties from Brian Wallace who retired this past spring. I am excited to get going with bringing many of our Brainerd and surrounding District 5 students into the planetarium. I will be continuing many of the programs that Brian started over the last 6 years. Over the last few years the state of Minnesota adopted and began the transition process to new science standards and I will be focusing on implementing those with the students that come to the planetarium. We will continue with telescope check-out later this year as well as implementing some public shows. Check back for more information as the year goes on. Happy 22-23 school year everyone!
November 21, 2019
FREE Tickets for Christmas shows at the Forestview Planetarium will be released soon. One week from today, Monday, Nov. 25, at 8:00AM CST the ticket site will be activated and you may reserve your seats. Two different shows will be offered this year. The 6:00PM show will be a current sky tour followed by an entertainment show, "Cosmic Christmas". (It's fun Christmas songs and cool visuals on the dome)
The 7:00PM show will be a current sky tour followed by a traditional Christmas show titled "Mystery of the Christmas Star". The 6:00 show is meant for a younger audience while the 7:00 show is geared towards a middle school and up audience.
All seats are general admission and are FREE but please do not reserve seats you won't use. No-shows are No-fun!
Click on this link: fmsplanetarium.com next Monday to reserve your tickets!
Thank you to Sourcewell for making this all possible!!
Shows will run on M-Th Dec. 9-12 and Dec, 16-19
Feb 11, 2019
In case you didn't catch the paper over the weekend here is a link to an article I wrote for the Guest Opinion section. Evening shows are coming up in two weeks. Reserve your spots today! Thanks, everyone for following the planetarium page.
ISD 181 Viewpoint: Forestview Planetarium: A Hidden Gem
By Brian Wallace, planetarium director on Feb 10, 2019 at 7:30 a.m.
Please allow me this opportunity to tell you about a hidden gem in the Brainerd Pulbic School system that is becoming less hidden each year. It is the Forestview Planetarium on the second floor of Forestview Middle School. The 2018-19 school year marks year two where I get the opportunity to share the amazing world of astronomy to thousands of people from preschoolers to adults. My name is Brian Wallace and I have been a teacher in the Brainerd Schools for 32 years. When Forestview Middle School was constructed 15 years ago a permanent planetarium dome was included in the design that myself and other colleagues had a hand in creating. After many years of limited use I now find myself as a full-time director of the planetarium that benefits all Brainerd students and reaches out to public schools in our five county region of central Minnesota so their students can attend. It is truly my dream job!
Two years ago a colleague and I applied for and received a generous amount of funding through a program called Innovation Funding; a program created and managed by Sourcewell of Staples, formally known as NJPA. This funding was approved for year two and an application for year three will be completed soon. The funding covers all cost for a full time person to staff the planetarium along with equipment changes and upgrades along the way. More importantly, the planetarium funding covers all transportation costs for kids from 22 school districts in Region 5 to experience the planetarium. Because of this funding, thousands of school age children have the opportunity to learn about astronomy in the immersive environment of a planetarium, many for the first time. Most schools have two to three grades attend. Students at Brainerd schools attend multiple times from kindergarten through eighth grade and all students receive lessons designed to cover our Minnesota science standards. The impact on student learning has been incredible!
Another important role of the planetarium is community outreach. I have presented shows during the fall, in December and currently I am preparing for "A Night Under the Stars" in late February. For information on shows and showtimes visit the planetarium website at fmsplanetairum.com and follow the planetarium on Facebook. The best thing of all is that when public shows are presented they are free to attend. All I ask is that you register for tickets using the planetarium website.
I hope you can soon check out this not so hidden gem in our schools! Thank you to all who have helped bring the planetarium to reality, from former superintendent Mr. Walseth for believing in this idea to our current superintendent Mrs. Larson for connecting me with Sourcewell two years ago. Thanks also to my colleague Tim Peabody for his help in the application process and all the employees of Sourcewell that continue to fund incredible programs throughout the five county region, including my favorite hidden gem, the Forestview Planetarium.
September 19th, 2018
Hello again Forestview Planetarium followers! The planetarium is back in business for the 2018-19 school year and is once again fully funded by funding from Sourcewell (formally NJPA). This is huge news and we are so thankful that Sourcewell has provided the means to reach so many students in our area along with community members! The year is off to a great start with classrooms from all over Region 5 counties (Crow Wing, Cass, Todd, Wadena, Morrison) booking visits. Transportation costs from all of these districts are totally covered under Sourcewell funding!
In addition, this year will see the installation of a brand new projection system for the planetairum. It truly will be a state of the art system! Images on the dome including the starfield will be thrilling to see after the installation completes in early December. Just in time for the Christmas shows. Speaking of which, stay tuned for information on showtimes and dates. (Due to the new installation schedule there will be no fall show)
Thank you for following the planetarium and hope to see you in December!
November 6th, 2017
Christmas shows at the Forestview Planetarium are here soon! Shows are free, open to the public and are appropriate for all ages. The show this year will begin with a live night sky “tour” including mythical stories of characters seen now in the winter sky. You will even learn how to use a star map that you can take with you! Following that you will see “The Star of Bethlehem”. This show takes you back to the little town of Bethlehem of long ago, in the endeavor to investigate what was the “Star” that guided the Wise Men. Each session will last approximately 55 minutes. Book your free reservation at fmsplanetarium.com. Please only book the number of seats you know you will use. Dates and times can be found under the "Free Shows" tab at fmsplanetarium.com. See you soon!
September 25, 2017
Once again hello out there! Being that the Oct. 24th public shows at the planetarium filled very quickly, I am going to do a second night of shows the evening before on the 23rd. This is SO exciting in a very geeky way! Follow this link to the planetarium website and click on "Free Public Shows" to choose a time. (6:00, 7:00 or 8:00)fmsplanetarium.com Please share with others if you wish and remember there are only 50 seats per show to reserve. Thank you all very much for having an interest in the planetarium experience!!
September 20, 2017
Hello, Facebook friends of the FMS Planetarium! I have a HUGE announcement. As of this fall, I am a full-time director of the planetarium!! Last spring a colleague of mine and I applied for and received funding through NJPA in Staples for the 2017-18 school year. Goodge NJPA to find out more but for now please spread the word that the planetarium is once again open!
Check out the almost fully constructed website: fmsplanetarium.com to see some additional information.
If you would like to be part of the first public show set for October 24th you can register on the site for free as long as there are still seats available. You have first shot at them! The topic is going to be focused on eclipses. I would like to follow up on the Great American Eclipse of 2017 and then present a full dome show called "Totality".
Will you please join me and encourage others to do so. It is free and open to all. Look for the link "Free Public Shows" and I'll see you in October!
Thank you! Brian Wallace
November 6th, 2018
Hello to all FMS Planetarium followers! It's time to announce to schedule for the 2019 holiday shows. All shows are family-friendly, open to the public and free! Please only book the number of seats you will fill.
The topic for December will be a live night sky tour, followed by a quick tour of the lunar landings to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission, and finally a full dome show titled "Mystery of the Christmas Star". All shows will be approx 60 minutes.
Click on the "Holiday Shows" tab at fmsplanetarium.com to book your seats in advance. In all, there will be 20 showings during the evening hours. Hope to see you in December!