NOTE: To help support the ongoing wellness of our community, the William M. Staerkel Planetarium has canceled all activities in the planetarium until further notice. 

Sensory-friendly shows on selected Saturdays!

Cosmic Colors


The Staerkel Planetarium is now offering sensory-friendly shows! The matinée showings of One World, One Sky: Big Bird’s Adventure 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! They will be available on March 14, April 18, and May 30.


Spanish-language shows debut!

Arqueoastronomía Maya

Un cielo, un mundo

Con la finalidad de disminuir el número de reuniones no esenciales y darle prioridad al bienestar de nuestra comunidad, el Planetario M. Staerkel cancelará todas las actividades en el planetario programadas desde el domingo 15 de marzo hasta el domingo 5 de abril. Los shows cancelados serán reprogramados en el futuro.

Gracias por su comprensión y manténgase a salvo.

El Planetario Staerkel estará también exhibiendo shows públicos en español por primera vez en su historia! El 28 de marzo tendremos el show Un cielo, un mundo: La aventura de Big Bird a las 2 p.m. y Arqueoastronomía Maya a las 3 p.m. Ambos shows serán presentados por un hispano hablante nativo.

The Staerkel Planetarium is also giving public shows in Spanish for the first time! On March 28, we will show Un cielo, un mundo: La aventura de Big Bird at 2 p.m. and Arqueoastronomía Maya (Mayan Archaeoastronomy) at 3 p.m. Both shows will be presented by a native Spanish speaker.

The presenter, Ricardo Covarrubias Carreno, Ph.D., has worked at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications at the University of Illinois and he has taught astronomy at Parkland College since 2018. The planetarium staff are working with Ricardo to acquire more fulldome shows in Spanish and to tailor existing resources for live-narrated shows.


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.