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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.   





Our holiday special, "Season of Light," begins Thanksgiving weekend, 8pm


"Season of Light" traces the history and development of many of the world's holiday customs, all of which involve lighting up the winter season. "Seasons of Light" recounts the historical religious and cultural rituals practiced during the time of winter solstice - not only Christian and Jewish, but also Celtic, Nordic, Roman, Irish, Mexican and Hopi. It also examines some of our more light-hearted seasonal traditions including Kris Kringle!











For the kids . . . . . ."Santa's Secret Star," Saturdays at 7pm, beginning Nov. 12


What? Santa has lost his compass and can't find his way home? Sounds like a disaster in the making! Can the stars help? Learn about the day and night sky and how the stars seem to make pictures in the sky in our newest holiday show for young stargazers. Learn how YOU, too, can find Santa's secret star!









Dr. Jim Kaler returns so the dome December 2 to explore "Cosmic Dust!" 


Though not widely known or appreciated, cosmic dust, usually in the form of complex silicates or carbon, plays a powerful role in star and planet formation. It shields gas clouds from heating starlight and thus acts as a cosmic refrigerator to bring their temperatures down to the point at which the blobs of interstellar gas and dust can contract to form stars. As the stars age, they eventually lose their outer envelopes, which become cold enough to condense back into dust, thus starting the process all over again. On a more local level, dust in the remnant disk surrounding the early Sun coalesced to help form the planets. Dr. Kaler will discuss the role of dust in the universe and how complex molecules can be produced which eventually could turn into life.  Admission is $2.   




The Starship Artemis returns to "dock" in the dome on February 11


The Artemis Bridge Simulator returns to the dome on Saturday, February 11, for a full day of gaming.   Why not assembly a team of 6-8 people to play with us?   Gamers sign-up for a two-hour time slot beginning at 9am.  Advance registration is required!   Decide who will be captain, science officer, engineering, weapons control, communication, and helm and then work together as a team to play against the game.   And Artemis is now updated with more detail!   Two people may now fly fighters to support the main starship.   To register & pay click here.  The cost is $12 per person (ages 13+ please) and you have to pay in advance to hold your spot.   Think you're ready?   A tutorial on the Artemis game can be found here.   Our thanks for radio station WPCD director Deane Geiken for making this possible.   





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.