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. We will be close for the March 17/28 weekend due to spring break.
We are pleased to report that the planetarium front doors are OPEN as well as the circle drive in front. Due to the new Fine & Applied Arts wing, patrons are still 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!
"Dynamic Earth" returns April 3!
“Dynamic Earth” 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. 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. Admission is $5 adults; $4 students, seniors, and children under 12, all at the door.
"THE ZULA PATROL: UNDER THE WEATHER" starts March 14, 7pm
The heroes of the Zula Patrol are on an expedition collecting samples of weather for scientist Multo's research -- using their loyal pet Gorga's ability to collect and bottle all kinds of weather. But when the Zula gang inadvertently hurts Gorga's feelings, he decides to leave Zula and find another planet to live on. Interplanetary villain Dark Truder then tricks Gorga into stealing the weather from other planets - part of his latest nefarious scheme to rule the Universe. The ZPers find out and go after him - in the process learning all about weather, both terrestrial and interplanetary. Appropriate for children ages 4-9 and their families. Admission is $5 adults; $4 students, seniors, and children under 12, all at the door.
Biodiversity featured in last "World of Science" talk, April 3, 7pm
Local environmental author and University of Illinois lecturer Rob Kanter will
discuss "Snappers, Dragons, Warblers and Foxes: Appreciating Biodiversity Close
to Home" on Friday, April 3. His presentation will take place at 7 p.m. in the
planetarium dome. Admission is $1 at the door, with Friends of the Staerkel
Planetarium admitted free.
Many east central Illinoisans feel they can connect with the natural world only by traveling elsewhere. In this presentation of photos he has taken locally, Kanter invites people to think otherwise by calling attention to the some of the fascinating organisms that thrive in the human-dominated landscape of Champaign-Urbana.
Kanter writes and narrates "Environmental Almanac," a weekly program that runs as a column in the Sunday edition of the Champaign News-Gazette and as a radio commentary segment on WILL-AM 580 and other NPR affiliates in Illinois. He also teaches courses in environmental writing and issues at the University of Illinois in the School of Earth, Society, and Environment.
"New Horizons: An Expedition to Pluto" coming in June!
New! Launched on January 29, 2006 and due to fly by the Pluto system on July 15, 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!
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.
Girl Scout and Boy Scout badge workshops are coming up in April and May! Advance registration is required.