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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 of public programs. You don't need a reservation - all tickets are sold at the door!  Visit us at Parkland College, celebrating its 50th anniversary year!     Check out our new solar eclipse site for 2017 - click on the Sun!  We will be closed for spring break for the March 24/25 weekend. 


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 sping version of the show begins March 17.   




"The Dark Matter Mystery" opens March 31, 8pm


New! What keeps Galaxies together? What are the building blocks of the Universe? What makes the Universe appear the way it looks today? We know today that approximately a quarter of the Universe is filled with a mysterious glue: Dark Matter. We know that it is out there. But we have no idea what it is consists of. Join us on the biggest quest of contemporary astrophysics as we explore evidence for Dark Matter both in space and deep underground. Produced by the planetarium in Laupheim, Germany. Tickets are $6 adults, $5 students, seniors, & kids, all sold at the door. 













Our Coyote explores the Earth, Moon & Sun, beginning April 1


Explore the relationships between the Earth, the Moon, and the Sun with the help of Coyote, an amusing character adapted from Native American oral traditions who has many misconceptions about our neighbors in space. His confusion makes us think about how the Earth, Moon and Sun work as a system as we distinguish between myth and science. Examine how the Sun rises and sets and how the Sun shines, then learn about craters on the Moon, phases and eclipses. Tickets are $6 adults, $5 students, seniors, & kids, all sold at the door












Special March 31 "World of Science" talk to focus on Tornadoes!


A Champaign-Urbana native, meteorologist Andrew Pritchard will take the audience on a journey through the turbulent Midwest, where violent thunderstorms roam the plains during the spring and summer. He will examine local tornado climatology, when and where they are most likely to form, and how residents can keep prepared for them. He will "let the sky do a lot of the talking," showing some of the most riveting tornado video footage of the last decade, some shot by Pritchard himself in central Illinois. Admission is $2 at the door.   


Joaquin Vieira to speak on April 7


Dr. Joaquin Vieira, Professor of Astronomy at the University of Illinois, will be the April speaker in the “World of Science” Lecture Series. His talk, entitled “How the Universe Began,” will be given on Friday, April 7 at 7pm.   The origin of the universe is a question that humans have comtemplated for thousands of years. Where did it all come from? Dr. Vieira will bring us up to date with the latest observations and ideas on the origin of galaxies and stars. Professor Vieira is an observational cosmologist who works across the electromagnetic spectrum. His scientific interests include galaxy formation and evolution, the star formation history of the Universe and the cosmic microwave background. Tickets are $2 per person at the door







Starlight Productions presents Pink Floyd's "The Wall" fulldome show


Thanks to Starlight Productions we are now showing Pink Floyd fulldome shows one weekend per month.  These are not laser shows, but fulldome movies with imagery accompanying both "Dark Side of the Moon" and "The Wall."   Admission is $6 per person at the door.   See:

   * Dark Side of the Moon . . . . .April 7 & 8

   * The Wall . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . May 5 & 6


    Laser shows return to the dome April 28/29 and May 5/6






Just added. . . .live concert featuring improvised light & sound, April 14/15


The planetarium will welcome Allen Wu (laptop), Barry Morse (trumpet/theremin),John Nichols (laptop) and Jason Finkelman (percussion) to the dome for a special live performance on Friday, April 14 and Saturday, April 15, at 9:30pm each night.  The improvised music will be accompanied by visuals on the dome.   Tickets for "Shadows From the Sun" are $10 for adults, $5 for students (with ID) and children, sold at the door. 









Laser Shows Return to the Dome!    April 28/29 & May 5/6


The SkyLase laser projection system from Audio Visual Imagineering returns to the dome for the last weekend in April and first weekend in May. Check out our calendar for the laser shows those weekends.  Tickets are $8 at the door or listen to win tickets on Rewind 92.5.   

     April 28:

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

        10:30pm = Pink Floyd's The Wall

    April 29:

         9:30pm = Laser Country

       10:30pm = Laser Zeppelin






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.




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.