STARS focuses on the lives of the stars, how they are born, how they die, and how human understanding of the stars has changed over time. From Native Americans to Newton, from the electromagnetic spectrum to Einstein, audiences will explore nebulae, star clusters, pulsars, black holes, and more.

This dramatic program features the voice talent of Mark Hamill. The Nashville Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Albert-George Schram, resident conductor, performed part of the STARS soundtrack. STARS was made possible, in part, by a gift from SunTrust Bank, Inc.

STARS is recommended for ages 4 and up. Teachers interested in bringing a school group should consult the Tennessee Curriculum standards information listed below.

STARS is currently available for school groups. To book a group reservation, call (615) 862-5177 at least two weeks in advance.

For More Information

Download the ASC Educator's Guide for STARS

Web sites


  • The Brightest Stars: Discovering the Universe through the Sky's Most Brilliant Stars by Fred Schaaf
  • The Sun by Steele Hill and Michael Carlowicz Extreme Stars by James B. Kaler
  • The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Stars by James B. Kaler
  • The Little Book of Stars (Little Book Series) by James B. Kaler
  • The Sun by Seymour Simon
  • The Sun Observer's Guide by Pam Spence
  • An Introduction to the Sun and Stars by Simon Green
STARS is recommended for Grades 5 and up.

TN State Science Standards

Grade Level Expectations (GLE)

High School

Physical Science
  • CLE 3202.4.2 Relate gravitational force to mass
Earth Science
  • CLE 3204.1.1 Explore theories for the origin and evolution of the universe
  • CLE 3204.1.2 Examine the components of the solar system
Conceptual Physics
  • CLE 3237.3.6 Describe the characteristics of the electromagnetic spectrum
  • CLE 3237.3.9 Investigate the phenomenon of color.
  • CLE 3231.4.1 Describe the characteristics of the electromagnetic spectrum
  • CLE 3231.4.5Investigate the phenomenon of color.


  1. Define and describe two types of stellar objects: such as an average star like the Sun, nebula, star cluster, pulsar, supernova, or black hole.
  2. Define and describe the components that make up the electromagnetic spectrum.
  3. Identify at least one cultural advancement in human understanding of the sky.

Pre-visit Activities

  1. Download the monthly star chart from our website at Encourage students to locate the constellations and any planets visible in the evening sky.
  2. Have the students read myths or stories involving the constellations. Encourage them to find early explanations for what the stars were, the Milky Way, aurora, comets, the cause of day and night or the seasons, and other astronomical phenomena.
  3. Ask students to describe the typical lifecycle of different types of stars: the Sun, star cluster, black hole, etc. How do they think the Sun will die?
  4. Observe the Sun using safe, non-direct methods such as pinhole projection, telescope projection, or a sunspotter.

Post-Visit Activities

  1. Based on the information from the show, ask students to briefly describe the typical steps in a star’s lifecycle.
  2. Have the students investigate solar topics such as sunspots, the solar cycle, flares and prominences, and how the Sun affects climate on Earth. This activity could also be expanded to include seasons, weather patterns, magnetic fields, CMEs, etc.
  3. Present and explore the Hertzsprung-Russell (H-R) diagram and how it graphically illustrates the different types and lives of stars.
  4. Have students investigate the different classes of stars: O, B, A, F ,G, K, M, R, N. How are these stars different from one another?
  5. What are the prospects of different classes of stars having planets? If they had planets, how would life have to develop and adapt to survive under different environmental conditions?
  6. An armada of spacecraft has been launched to study the Sun. Have students research various missions such as SOHO, TRACE, STEREO, Ulysses, Hinode, and others.


  • black hole
  • constellation
  • core
  • electromagnetic spectrum
  • galaxy
  • gamma rays
  • globular star cluster
  • gravity
  • Great Orion Nebula
  • Milky Way
  • nebula
  • nuclear fusion reactions
  • pulsar
  • radio telescope
  • radio waves
  • red giant star
  • spectrum
  • supernova
  • telescope
  • ultraviolet
  • x-rays
  • yellow dwarf star