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Galaxy Club

Welcome!

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 planetarium@parkland.edu. See our calendar for what's playing.

 

 


** Our summer schedule begins the week of June 1 . . . we will temporarily suspend Saturday programming and add matinees on Tuesday afternoons (1 & 2pm) and Thursday morning (10 & 11am). See our calendar for a full schedule. You don't need a reservation - all tickets are sold at the door! [We will be closed Thursday and Friday, July 2 & 3]


Prairie SkiesTraditional "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!

 

 

 

 

 

 


New Horizons patch

"New Horizons: An Expedition to Pluto"opens June 5

New! Launched on January 29, 2006 and due to fly by the Pluto system on July 14, 2015, the New Horizons probe will give humanity its first close up view of what was once the Ninth Planet. Though American astronomer Clyde Tombaugh discovered Pluto in 1930, we still know very little about this remote little world. Even Hubble Space Telescope images show us only vague surface structures. The New Horizons craft will fly by Pluto and its moons to capture images far more detailed than any other. We will add the new images to the show as they become available. Experience this once-in-a-lifetime fly by with us! Friday nights at 8pm starting June 5.

 


One World One SkyThe gang from Sesame Street returns for matinees this summer!

Explore the night sky with our friends from Sesame StreetTM. "One World, One Sky: Big Bird's Adventure" returns as a matineed this summer! Join Big Bird, Elmo, and Hu Hu Zhu as they take an imaginary trip to the Moon. See how the Moon is different from the Earth and learn how to find the Big Dipper and North Star from your backyard. This interactive show for young children was co-produced by the Adler Planetarium, Sesame Workshop, the Beijing Planetarium, and Liberty Science Center. See it Tuesdays at 1pm or Thursdays at 10am. Admission is $5 adults, $4 students, seniors, and children under 12.

 


Coyote Explores the Earth Moon and SunOur silly coyote returns this summer, beginning June 9.

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. Lastly, we look at past exploration of the Moon.   Admission is $5 adults, $4 students, seniors, and children under 12.

 

 

 


PlutopaloozaKids (and parents) . . . . join us for a celebration of Pluto in July!

On July 14, the New Horizons spacecraft will make the first-ever fly-by of Pluto. The fly-by will occur that morning but the spacecraft will turn its antenna back towards the Earth to "phone home" that evening. The planetarium will project the news conference live on the dome. We'll also have activities in the lobby including a scale model solar system, comparing planet sizes, comparing the gravity on Pluto to the Earth, and more. Join us from 6-8:30pm . . . and it's free! You can come and go as you please. On Sunday, July 12, planetarium director Dave Leake will give a talk on Pluto at the Champaign Public Library at 3pm. And we will include any new images of Pluto and its moons from the New Horizons spacecraft in both "Prairie Skies" and our New Horizons show on the evening of July17. It's a "Pluto-palooza!!"

The discoverer of Pluto, Clyde Tombaugh, was born in Streator, Illinois! See what's Streator is doing for the fly-by in their calendar!

 


meteorite

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.