Stars at night



The lobby and exhibit hall of the planetarium contain several permanent and rotating exhibits that are free to visit during normal hours.

Foucault pendulum

Foucault Pendulum

Named after French physicist Leon Foucault, this device serves as a visual demonstration of the rotation of the earth. Designs vary, but the concept is deceptively simple: a pendulum, powered by an electromagnet, swings from a steel cable, knocking down a ring of pegs below it. Although the direction of the pendulum appears to be changing, it is actually the Earth beneath the pendulum that moves. Our pendulum processes in a complete cycle approximately once every 43 hours. With 96 pins arranged around the perimeter, and the pendulum knocking them down on both sides of its swing, it takes about 21 hours to knock down all of the pins. With only a handful of Foucault Pendulums located in the state, OCC’s pendulum exhibit is the first of its kind in Orange County, giving local students and the surrounding community a chance to experience firsthand one of the most fundamental aspects of our understanding of the universe.

See it in action in this time-lapse video!

Science on a Sphere

Science on a Sphere

Researchers at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) developed Science on a Sphere as an educational tool to help people of all ages visualize the earth. Using computers and video projectors, animated images of atmospheric storms, climate change and ocean temperature can be shown on this giant globe, making complex environmental processes an interactive and captivating experience. In addition, huge numbers of datasets from such diverse fields as astronomy, anthropology, geology, and climatology have been created to utilize the Sphere's unique visualization opportunities. OCC's Science on a Sphere resides in the Planetarium’s lobby/exhibit hall, giving visitors an astronaut’s-eye-view of the earth as it changes minute to minute.

SOS Explorer

SOS Explorer

While the primary Science on a Sphere globe contains hundreds of interesting datasets curated by the Planetarium Crew, sometimes you just want to explore on your own. Our four Science on a Sphere Explorer stations let you do just that. SOSx contains hundreds of datasets, but you get to choose what you want to see. Bounce around the surface of the moon, see the patterns of global air traffic, or track the migration of birds across North America with just a tap on the touch-screen displays.

Space Rocks Exhibit

Space Rocks: Meteorites!

Over its billions of years of existence, our Solar System has changed and evolved, but pieces the ancient past have been preserved in rocks that still float through space today. These rocks can fall to earth as Meteorites, seen in the sky as shooting stars. We can learn so much about how planets and solar systems develop by studying them. 

Our collection features Lunar and Martian samples, as well as a 40-pound fragment of the object that created Barringer Crater in Winslow, Arizona. 

The Space Rocks! exhibit is made possible through collaboration with Top Meteorite


Dome Theater

The heart and centerpiece of the Planetarium is the Dome Theater. 124 unidirectional, reclined seats sit beneath the 50-foot (15 meter) dome projection screen. The Dome is tilted forward 12 degrees for ease of viewing. The planetarium is powered by the state-of-the-art Digistar 6 platform that allows visitors to experience everything from a dark, quiet starry night to a journey to the very edge of the known universe on a whim. Six Sony GTZ 270 Laser Projectors work together to fill the dome with 8K resolution picture and video for a truly immersive experience.

The Dome Theater is the venue for most large events at the planetarium, including public and school shows, guest speakers, OCC astronomy labs, concerts, and more!

Gift Shop

The small OCC Planetarium Gift Shop offers a stellar array of gift items, books, toys, and apparel for guests of all ages. Items range in price from $0.25 to $60.00 and all proceeds go towards planetarium operations, including new planetarium shows and exhibits! The gift shop is also where visitors can purchase tickets to public planetarium shows, though guests are encouraged to book tickets ahead of time on OCC Tickets. Check out our Public Show calendar to book your seats today!