A popular local astronomer returns to Parkland College's planetarium to discuss dwarf planets.
University of Illinois Professor Emeritus Jim Kaler’s World of Science talk, "The World of Dwarf Planets," will take place Friday, Dec. 4, at 7 p.m. at the William M. Staerkel Planetarium. Admission is $1 at the door.
The term "dwarf planet" did not enter the science textbooks until 2006, when Pluto was removed from the ranks of accepted planets to become the first in this new category. Five dwarf planets have been identified in our solar system, with other candidates on the wait list. Earlier this year, we acquired up-close images of two of them, Ceres and Pluto. Kaler will explain what makes an object a dwarf planet and what have we learned about them from the Dawn and New Horizons missions.
Kaler has been at the UIUC's Department of Astronomy since 1964. He has published more than 120 papers and nearly 20 books, with his latest being First Magnitude. He operates two websites, Skylights and Stars, which have collectively received more than ten million visitors since their inception. Asteroid 1998JK was named for Kaler in recognition of his outreach activities. In 2008, he received the American Astronomical Society’s prestigious Education Prize.
Following Kaler's talk, the planetarium will present its holiday special, Season of Light. For a full schedule, visit the planetarium website or call the show hotline at 217/351-2446.