Sensory-friendly shows debut on February 29!

Cosmic Colors


The Staerkel Planetarium is delighted to announce our first ever sensory-friendly shows on February 29! The matinée showings of One World, One Sky: Big Bird’s Adventure and Cosmic Colors will feature "lights up, sound down" and will have a relaxed atmosphere where patrons can come, go, and move around as needed. 

Our sensory-friendly shows are great for guests with autism spectrum disorder, sensory sensitivities, or young children. All are welcome, even if you don't need sensory accommodations!

Many Inspired Steps exhibition celebrates anniversary of Apollo 11

The William M. Staerkel Planetarium at Parkland College is pleased to present Many Inspired Steps, an exhibition that celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon landing.

On July 20, 1969 at 10:56:15 p.m. E.D.T. Astronaut Neil Armstrong became the first human to set foot on the Moon with the now famous words: “That's one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind.”

Neil Armstrong’s “one small step” was just the crowning accomplishment of an endeavor that goes back centuries. Many Inspired Steps tells the story of that endeavor: the mythology of Icarus flying to close to the Sun and his wax wings melting; the conquest of the air in the 20th century; the conquest of space; and, of course, the triumph of Apollo 11, and much more.

*Many Inspired Steps was organized by Thomas A. Lesser and is distributed by Audio Visual Imagineering, Inc.


See the Goose Kaler Meteorite Collection on display in our lobby

Kaler meteorite

On loan from the James B. 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 downloaded here.


Cosmic Blink

Cosmic Blink was created by artist Billy Morrow Jackson in 1988. The mural is a collage featuring four giants of astronomy, namely Nicholas Copernicus, Galileo, Joannes Kepler, and Isaac Newton. A full description of the mural can be found here.