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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. Our summer matinees are now over and we are back to our normal Friday and Saturday evening public program schedule. The planetarium will be closed August 29th and 30th for the Labor Day weekend.



The planetarium front doors will be inaccessiable during day hours due to construction at the adjacent Parkland Theatre. There will also be no entrance to our circle drive in front. The planetarium is still open! Patrons coming to our evening programming or summer matinees should park in the M-1 lot north of the dome, walk up the walk, and enter through our back entrance. Look for the signs. Groups visiting by way of buses should also go to the M-1 lot, north of the planetarium, and pull into the marked bus lane. Pull up as far as you can to let off the kids. You may park your bus here for the duration of the show. Cars should not park in the bus lane! A map can be found here. Note: due to reconstruction of the archway between the planetarium and theatre, our front doos will closed completely to the public beginning in mid-August.

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!







Dynamic Earth

"Dynamic Earth" now showing on Friday & Saturday nights at 8pm.

  New! “Dynamic Earth” is a new fulldome feature that explores the inner workings of Earth's climate system. With visualizations based on satellite monitoring data and advanced supercomputer simulations from NCSA, this cutting-edge production follows a trail of energy that flows from the Sun into the interlocking systems that shape our climate: the atmosphere, oceans, and the biosphere. Audiences will ride along on swirling ocean and wind currents, dive into the heart of a monster hurricane, come face-to-face with sharks and gigantic whales, and fly into roiling volcanoes.





ZulaThe Zula Patrol Returns to the dome this fall!

While on a routine fossil-hunting expedition, The Zula Patrol turns up evidence that the villainous Deliria Delight has been travelling back in time to Earth’s prehistoric past to illegally dump her company’s toxic trash. The Zula Patrollers must find and catch her, before her actions cause catastrophic consequences. In the process, our heroes learn all about the formation and development of Earth, and the life forms who call it home.









WOS Molly Woloszyn visits on November 7 to discuss the winter of 2013-2014, 7pm

Do you remember the frigid cold of last January and February? Molly Woloszyn, Extension Climatologist with the Midwestern Regional Climate Center and Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant (University of Illinois), will take a look back at the vicious winter of this past year and discuss how it ranked in a historical/climatological context. She will also discuss what happened to make it such an anomalously cold winter for central Illinois, as well as if there is any indication whether these types of winters will become more or less frequent in the future. Based on recent seasonal projections, she will also look forward to what we may expect for the upcoming winter of 2014-2015.

Molly Woloszyn, a Champaign native, has been the Extension Climatologist with the Midwestern Regional Climate Center and Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant for the last three years. As the extension climatologist for both University of Illinois programs, Molly is responsible for communicating climate-related information to various audiences (e.g. local governments, educators, students, public) throughout the Midwest, mainly through presentations, workshops, social media, and other outreach avenues. Molly’s educational background includes a Master’s Degree in Atmospheric Science from Colorado State University and a Bachelor’s Degree in Meteorology from Northern Illinois University.

Why not stay for "Dynamic Earth" and make it a "climate doubleheader!"

The line-up of speakers for the 2014-2015 lecture series is set and now appears here! The talks are all on Friday nights at 7pm and admission is only $1 at the door! Put these on your calendar!

solar eclipseSafely watch the October 23 Partial Solar Eclipse

The Staerkel Planetarium, the CU Astronomical Society and the Parkland AstronomyEclipse glasses Club will offer safe, free eclipse viewing on the afternoon of Thursday, October 23. Starting just after 4:30pm, the Moon will begin to pass in front of the Sun. At maximum, about 40% of the Sun's disk will be covered by the Moon. This is a sunset eclipse so telescopes will be set up at Sunset Ridge Park, west of the college. The park is north of Bradley and borders Staley Road. The park gives a much lower horizon. There will be no eclipse viewing from Parkand College. Solar eclipses can be very dangerous unless you take the appropriate precautions (which does not include sunglasses!). Parking is offered in the lot or on Boulder Ridge Drive. The planetarium is offering special eclipse glasses to safely look at the sun for $1 each while supplies last. The event is weather permitting.


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.



Santa "Santa" returns to the dome November 1 in "Santa's Secret Star"

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!