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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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 for winter break starting December 23.
We are pleased to report that the planetarium front doors are OPEN as week as the circle drive in front. Due to the new Fine & Applied Arts wing, patrons are encouraged to park in the M-1 lot, north of the planetarium, but you may enter through our front doors. School buses may park in the planetarium circle drive to let off students. Thanks for your patience during the construction!
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!
Holiday special, "Season of Light" to open Thanksgiving weekend!
"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" also 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. Showing Friday & Saturday night through December 20. Admission: $5 adults; $4 students, seniors, children under 12.
"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!
Astronomer Dr. James Kaler visits the dome on December 5 to examine asteriods, 7pm
Millions of small bodies, the asteroids, orbit the Sun mostly between the planets Mars and Jupiter. Are they the failed remains of some ancient Earth destroyed by its own civilization? No, but they aren't what you were taught in school either! Recent discoveries show just how strange these asteroids really are and what they have to do with us. After the talk you can even visit with some of them at the Goose Kaler Meteorite exhibit located in the planetarium lobby. Join Dr. Kaler in the dome on December 5 for a close look. Following his talk, we'll have a special unveiling in the lobby to open a unique exhibition from the Kaler family.
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!
Looking for a stocking stuffer?
The planetarium is offering, while supplies last, a bundle for your budding young scientist. You get a dissectable refracting telescope, a rotating star wheel and a lunar phase calculator all for $18 from the planetarium gift counter. The counter is open through the week (8am-5pm) upon request and during our public shows on Friday & Saturday evenings, 6-9pm.
“SUPERVOLCANOES” RUMBLE IN THE DOME! Starts January 16, 8pm
New! Imagine a scene 74,000 years ago, on the island of Sumatra. A volcanic eruption triggered the sudden and violent collapse of a vast plateau. Toba, as the volcano is known today, was the largest volcanic eruption in the last 25 million years. But Earth has seen far larger! 250 million years ago, an eruption in what's now Siberia lasted a million years and was probably responsible for the greatest episode of mass extinction in Earth's history. “Supervolcanoes” looks back at rare classes of eruptions that have marshaled the energy that churns beneath the surface of planet Earth. Is a supervolcano lurking beneath Yellowstone Park?
TEACHERS! Come to our first annual Educator's Open House!
All teachers in the Parkland College district (and beyond) are invited to our first Educator's Open House on Thursday, February 26, 2015 from 4-7pm. The planetarium staff will be present to talk about how we can bestsupport your classroom instruction. We will show segments of shows for every grade level. You may show up and leave when you please, and it's free! Refreshments will be served in the lobby.
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.
President's Day Special, February 16. Special showing: "Back to the Moon . . . for Good!"
New! In case you haven’t heard, the Moon is trending again… and in a big way. Like in the glory days of the 1960s and 1970s, our neighbor in space is enjoying the attention of lunar explorers. Only this time, they’re going back to the moon for good. “Back To The Moon For Good,” chronicles teams around the world competing for the largest incentivized prize in history, by landing a robotic spacecraft on the Moon for the first time in more than 40 years. This global competition is designed to spark imagination and inspire a renewed commitment to space exploration, not by governments or countries – but by the citizens of the world. Showing at 10am and 2pm on February 16. All tickets are $4 at the door.
Coming in 2015 . . . . A special "Valentines Weekend" Concert!
Following the success of Celestial Strings: An Evening of Harp and Stargazing, harpist Ann McLaughlin returns to the Staerkel Planetarium this February 13/14 for two live performances. "Starry Night: Harp Music Under the Star-filled Sky" will take the audience on a delightful evening of music inspired by the celestial canopy above. Music, ranging from Classical to pops, will be synchronized with the star show. Tickets are $5 per person, all sold at the door.