Starlab Portable Planetarium

StarlabAbout StarLab

STARLAB offers the ideal solution for local schools who wish to familiarize students with astronomy. An inflated structure 16 feet across and 11 feet high, STARLAB can accommodate up to 25 students.

The star instrument can project the sun, moon, stars and planets. A special projector is used to project constellation outlines and a slide projector is used to show what objects look like close up.

STARLAB is available to all Marquette and Alger County schools by contacting Northern Michigan University’s Seaborg Center. A planetarium specialist will accompany STARLAB and present a range of programs suitable for K-12 students. Content is aligned with the Michigan Curriculum Framework.

Planetarium Specialist, Scott Stobbelaar is currently an Astronomy Adjunct Instructor at Northern Michigan University and also a solar system ambassador for NASA. He served as director of the Shiras Planetarium for 29 years and also taught science classes at Marquette Senior High School.  He has been an amateur astronomer for more than 40 years.



  • Half-day visits can include up to three presentations for multiple grades.
  • Full-day visits can include up to five presentations.

Each session can accommodate a maximum of 20-25 students.


  • Half-day—$150
  • Full-day—$200

To arrange a visit or learn more about STARLAB, call the Seaborg Center at NMU at 906-227-2002 or Scott Stobbelaar at 906-225-0959.

Visits should be scheduled at least two weeks in advance. One week notice is requested for cancelations.

Local Requirements

  • A space 20 feet wide by 25 feet long by 11 feet high. A gym works well.
  • A grounded 110-volt electrical outlet
  • Assistance in taking down of the STARLAB

STARLAB Program Offerings

Kindergarten: Introduction to STARLAB  (30 min)
Children become acquainted with the star dome. They learn how the sun and stars move during one complete day and night and how the stars circle the North Star.

Grades 1 – 2:  Day – Night Sky  (40 min)
Follow the sun’s path across the sky for one day. How is the sun's path different for different seasons? Follow stars for one night. Learn how to find the North Star, the Dippers, Cassiopeia and some of the seasonal constellations. Locate the moon and planets.

Grades 3-5: Sky Tonight (40 min)
Learn how to identify the circumpolar and most of the seasonal constellations. Learn how stars move differently at the North Pole and Equator. Demonstrate the cause of the four moon phases and what the moon looks like close-up. Locate the planets and learn what they look like. Find out about meteors.

Grades 6–8: Milky Way Galaxy Tour (40 Min)
Identify circumpolar and seasonal constellations, and the Milky Way. Locate star clusters and nebulae. Learn about the birth, life and death of stars. Learn how we determine where we are in our Milky Way Galaxy.

High School: Universe Tour  (45 min)
Locate the celestial pole and equator, ecliptic, meridian and zenith. Identify constellations. Understand how the stars appear to move in our sky and how these stars form our galaxy. Learn how our galaxy fits into the universe and how our universe may have formed, creating what we see today.