Sky and Earth Science

Bringing Astronomy and the Earth Sciences to your School or Library using the STARLAB Portable Planetarium

Sky and Earth Science uses a large inflatable dome and highly versatile projector to provide a realistic nighttime experience at anytime, day or night. Up to 30 people, seated in the dome, are treated to a very accurate representation of the planets, stars and constellations, as well as the mythological figures as seen by various world cultures. Graphic depictions of the Earth's tectonic plates, worldwide ocean currents and global weather patterns are also possible with the STARLAB. My presentations are designed to provide entertaining and informative programs for people of all ages but can be customized to help students address standards and benchmarks in a variety of subject areas. For me the nighttime experience is also of the Earth therefore I frequently include sounds and sights of the natural world. The programs are participatory as the intimate STARLAB environment provides for easy interaction. As I have years of experience teaching at all levels, preschool through adult, I am able to tailor my presentations to your specific needs.

Space requirements for setting up the STARLAB are a clean, indoor floor, approximately 20 feet by 24 feet with 11 and one half-foot overhead clearance. Although the dome is light proof it is not soundproof therefore a quiet location is necessary. Also a properly grounded three-prong 110-volt outlet should be close by. In the school setting the classroom teacher needs to accompany each class.

The cost for a typical day of presentations is $395 with a possible additional fee for mileage. Teacher training workshops and evening outdoor observing sessions are also available. Sky and Earth Science is based in western Massachusetts, USA. I do programs throughout New England and adjacent New York. Please contact Ron Woodland at for more information and scheduling.

Some Topics that can be included in STARLAB Programs:


  • Constellation identification
  • Star maps
  • Daily and yearly motions of the Earth
  • Reasons for seasons
  • Monthly motion and phases of the Moon
  • Eclipses
  • Positions and apparent motions of the planets
  • Night-time sky as seen from various locations on the Earth
  • Light pollution
  • Early ideas about the nature of the Universe
  • Our place in the Universe
  • Space travel
  • Life in the Universe
  • New discoveries in astronomy and remaining mysteries
  • Misconceptions in astronomy
  • Celestial coordinate system and the ecliptic
  • Sky mythology of the ancient Greeks, Native Americans, nations of Africa, and China

Earth Science:

  • Plate tectonics including continental drift, sea floor spreading, distribution of volcanoes, earthquake activity, divergent and convergent plate motions and boundaries, and structure of the Earth
  • Global ocean currents
  • Global weather patterns
  • Global climate change
  • Early exploration of the Earth


  • Structure of a biological cell (as seen from within the cell)
  • Animals of the night

Who is Sky and Earth Science?

Ron Woodland:

  • Teacher, Curriculum Developer and Program Presenter for over 30 years, having held teaching certifications at the elementary and secondary levels (earth science, general science, and mathematics) and currently physics (grades 7 through 12)
  • Formerly, Planetarium Director, Bassett Planetarium, and Education Coordinator, Pratt Museum of Natural History, Amherst College, working mostly with children of grades K through 12
  • Holder of astronomy awards for contributions to astronomy education including the Astronomical League Regional Award, the Korkosz Award, and the Amherst Area Amateur Astronomers Award

Images courtesy of Learning Technologies, Inc.

Entering the STARLAB

View from inside the Dome

H. A. Rey Constellations

Greek Mythology

Native American Mythology

Solar System

Milky Way Galaxy

Plate Tectonics

Ocean Currents

Weather Patterns

Biological Cell