The Story of the Solar System

Image credits: Perspectives Photography/ESO/T. Preibisch; NASA/ESA and The Hubble Heritage Team STScI/AURA; NASA, ESA, and A. Simon (GSFC).

Following its first performance in 2016, Will’s live show The Story of the Solar System toured several UK theatres, including sell-out dates in Exeter & Bristol.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, touring of the show was put on hold indefinitely. For info about what Will’s up to next, see the live events page. You can also see photos from some of the previous shows below.


Few stories are more exciting, more extraordinary, than that of our Solar System and the planets, moons, asteroids and comets that orbit the star we call the Sun. In this thrilling live show, astronomer Will Gater brings this remarkable tale to the stage.

The Story of the Solar System explores how the planets came to be and how they were transformed from wandering points of light to familiar worlds. Worlds that we’ve now examined up-close with robotic rovers and orbiting spacecraft.

Along the way you’ll hear about the men and women who pioneered the study of our planetary neighbourhood and see how modern space missions, investigating strange and awe-inspiring alien landscapes, have built on their work.

With live demos bringing to life some of the science of the Solar System and spectacular astronomical imagery throughout, this promises to be one story you won’t forget soon.


“Very much like the Royal Institution Christmas Lectures…I loved this show. I loved seeing a talented science communicator making his knowledge accessible and interesting and passing his enthusiasm to the audience.”

“Expansive and exciting” – BBC Sky at Night Magazine 

“[Gater] had the audience captivated from the start…The show was more than a history lesson. It was an appreciation of the rawest of human faculties; that which we are born with, though take for granted: curiosity.” – Exeposé




A new stage prop for 2018 – a 1:6-scale model of NASA’s New Horizons probe, which is currently exploring the distant outer reaches of the Solar System.


The Story of the Solar System set. The 3.5m Rosetta model looms over the demo table with Comet 67P below left. Credit: Will Gater
Fish-eye views of the show’s opening sequence – the audience watches as the Sun is born, surrounded by a vast disc of dust and gas. Credit: Will Gater
Will telling the tale of the night Galileo Galilei turned his telescope toward Jupiter and saw, for the first time, its four largest moons.
The Story of the Solar System set – at left awaiting the audience and at right during the show (with Will on stage holding a replica of one of Galileo’s telescopes).
Publicity image of the show’s 1:3-scale Huygens probe model surrounded by smooth ‘icy’ pebbles on the surface of Titan. Credit: Will Gater
Will on stage during the first half and (at right) a publicity image of the model Philae lander and its final resting site on Comet 67P.
The smallest star of the show! A slice of carbonaceous chondrite meteorite showing chondrules and calcium aluminium inclusions (CAIs). Credit: Will Gater
The 1:3 replica of the Huygens probe on stage bathed in the orange glow of Titan’s hazy skies. Credit: Will Gater
Wide view of the Story of the Solar System set from the top of the stalls. Credit: Will Gater
Will making a cometary nucleus live on stage using dry ice and other ingredients and (at right) a publicity shot of the Philae lander on Comet 67P with a cometary jet.
Will pointing out the dark surface of the mini-comet and the similarities to a real cometary nucleus and (at right) blowing on it to create the ‘coma’.
Publicity image of the show’s 3.5-metre wide Rosetta model showing details on the orbiter and science instruments/cameras. Credit: Will Gater
View from the upper left stalls looking towards Will carrying the ‘Neptune’ LED marker stick (at top right).