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Galaxy Club


Parkland Staerkel Planetarium photo
We offer various educational programs for school field trips, Scout troops, day care groups, park recreation, civic groups, and others.

Our World of Science lectures provides a monthly forum in which a local scientist discusses his or her specialties.

Enjoy weekend public Planetarium shows for residents of all ages. Explore this website for descriptions of our current shows. Contact us at See our calendar for what's playing.  The 2016-2017 "World of Science" lecture has been finalized. See the line-up of speakers here.



See our calendar for a full schedule. You don't need a reservation - all tickets are sold at the door!  Our summer matinees are now over and we return to Friday/Saturday night programming.   Be sure to check our calendar for a line-up of public programs!  Visit us at Parkland College, celebrating its 50th anniversary year!     

Traditional "Live" planetarium at its best! "Prairie Skies" Friday nights at 7pm

Take a live tour of the current night sky (and not have to swat mosquitoes)! Learn how to find the current constellations and planets, plus hear a few of the legendary stories featuring the imaginary figures above us!  The autumn version of the show begins September 23.   




"Solar Superstorms!"    Showing Friday/Saturday nights, 8pm through Oct. 29 

A fury is building on the surface of the Sun - high velocity jets, fiery tsunami waves reaching 100,000 km high, and rising loops of electrified gas. What is driving these strange phenomena and will they affect Earth? Find out in this new production, featuring scientific visualizations from the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) on the UIUC campus. Peer into the Sun using the latest scientific data.  Narrated by Benedict Cumberbatch.   This show is sponsored by SuperValu.    







For the kids . . . . . ."Solar System Safari," Saturdays at 7pm


A jungle adventurer uses a magical camera to take visitors on an exciting safari through the Solar System. The Sun, Moon, planets, and dwarf planets come to life, taking on unique personalities and describing their own characteristics and eccentricities. Learn about the planets, dwarf planets, asteroids and more! Tickets are $6 adults, $5 students/seniors/kids, sold at the door.






Laser shows will return to the planetarium dome for the weekends just before and just after Halloween.   We will also offer two "Fright Night" laser shows at 7pm and 8pm on Halloween night, plus two family-friendly educational laser programs about legends of the night sky on October 29 and November 5 at 7pm.     Listen to win laser tickets on Rewind 92.5


Fri, October 28:

9:30pm = Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon

10:30pm = Pink Floyd's The Wall


Sat, October 29:

9:30pm = Metallica

10:30pm = Fright Light (Halloween laser show)




Mon, October 31 (Halloween!):

7pm = Fright Light

8pm = Fright Light


Fri, November 4:

9:30pm = Led Zeppelin

10:30pm = U2


Sat, November 5

9:30pm = Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon

10:30pm = Pink Floyd's The Wall









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James Dobbins, our next "World of Science" speaker, will tackle the Zika virus on November 4 


The Zika virus was discovered in 1947 but its slow spread eastward from Africa, across the Pacific Ocean, has led some to use the word “epidemic.” Mr. Dobbins will discuss the origin and history of the virus before assessing the current state of the virus in Americas and southeast Asia. He’ll explore the diseases caused by the virus and related viruses and then look towards the future of such outbreaks. Admission is $2 at the door. 


There will be a special "World of Science" talk on Tuesday, November 15, at 7pm on the art and science of Yellowstone Park, given by Dr. Bruce Fouke and photographer Tom Murphy.   




See the Goose Kaler Meteorite Collection now on display in our lobby

On loan from the Kaler family, the meteorite collection contains samples from Canyon Diablo, Esquel (Argentina), Gibeon (Namibia), and Sikhote-Alin (Siberia). The "monster" of the collection is a 16 kilogram iron meteorite that you can touch. A brochure containing background information on the samples can be picked up in our lobby or you can download one here.


The Artemis Bridge Simulator returns to the dome on November 12!


Ever wanted to command your own starship?   Thanks to Deane Geiken (WPCD radio), the Starship Artemis returns!   Teams of six can register to perform tasks on the bridge, such as Weapons control, Science, Helm, Engineering, Communications, and of course Captain.  Teams work together to defeat the game.  The cost is $10 per person or $50 for a team of six to play in a two-hour time slot, starting at 9am.   Note:  these time slots are sold out, but  you can also watch for $2 a person. 









Interested in sponsoring one of our new seats? 


The planetarium is beginning a program where individuals or companies may sponsor one of our new seats for that special someone.   The one-time, tax deductible $400 sponsorship will result in a plaque permanently affixed to the seat of your choice, plus we'll recognize donors online. Funds will be deposited in the planetarium's unrestricted foundation account and will go to support future planetarium programming.  For information, call or email Dave Leake at 217/351-2567. 




"Two Small Pieces of Glass:  The Amazing Telescope" opens November 4


While attending a star party, two teenage students learn from a female astronomer how telescopes have helped us understand our place in the universe. In their conversations, we hear about the history of the telescope and some of the discoveries that have been made using this device. Learn how telescopes work and how they reveal Jupiter's moons, the rings of Saturn and spiral galaxies. This show was originally produced for the International Year of Astronomy (2009) but was recently made available in fulldome format. Tickets are $6 adults, $5 students/seniors/kids, sold at the door.