The Parkland College Blog

"Spiders" Topic of Planetarium Science Talk

UI entomologist takes a look at spiders in the movies, our backyards

"Spiders" will invade the William M. Staerkel Planetarium at Parkland College next month, as a science talk. 

University of Illinois entomologist Dr. May Berenbaum will present "Spiderman vs. Spiders: Marvel vs. the Real World," the next presentation in the James B. Kaler Science Lecture Series, Friday, Feb. 1 at 7 p.m. Admission is $2 at the door with Friends of the Staerkel Planetarium admitted free of charge. 

Hollywood's depiction of spiders has little to do with the real world. Known locally for her annual "Insect Fear Film Festival," Berenbaum will look at spiders in the movies but then come back home to backyards in central Illinois to examine real spiders and their awesome diversity. There are over 45,000 species of spiders; what misconceptions might we have about these air-breathing, eight-legged arthropods? 

Berenbaum has been on the faculty of the Department of Entomology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign since 1980, serving as head since 1992 and as Swanlund Chair of Entomology since 1996. She is known for elucidating chemical mechanisms underlying interactions between insects and their host plants, including detoxification of natural and synthetic chemicals, and for applying ecological principles in developing sustainable management practices for natural and agricultural communities. Her research has produced over 230 refereed scientific publications and 35 book chapters.

Devoted to teaching and fostering scientific literacy through formal and informal education, she has authored numerous magazine articles and six books about insects for the general public. Berenbaum received her Ph.D. in ecology and evolutionary biology from Cornell University in 1980. In 2014, she received the National Medal of Science from President Barack Obama.

Following Berenbaum’s talk, the Staerkel Planetarium will present the show "Cosmic Colors: An Adventure Along the Spectrum." Tickets for regular planetarium programming are $5 and $6. Call 217/351-2446 for a current schedule or visit the planetarium website

High school and home school students and their families can learn more about an early college program that could reduce the time it takes to earn an associate's degree or bachelor's degree after high school. 

An informational session on the Early Transfer Academy (ETA) has been set for Monday, Jan. 28 from 6:30 to 8 p.m. in Room U140 of Parkland College's Student Union. Early Transfer AcademyCollege faculty and administrators will be on hand to discuss the academy, its benefits to students, and the eligibility requirements for participation. 

As participants in the ETA, high school juniors and seniors will enroll in early-morning classes at Parkland College that meet the State of Illinois' General Education Core Curriculum. The GECC "package" of courses will then transfer as lower-division, general education requirements at public colleges and universities across the state. This could mean a significant savings in college costs as well as a greater chance at college success because of experiences gained on Parkland's campus. 
 
"I was really excited about getting my college credit done as soon as possible," said one current ETA student. "I just really want to get on with my career."

All families are welcome to attend the information session; however, parents of current sophomore- and junior-level students will have particular interest in attending, as these students will be the participants in the ETA.

Register to attend the information session at parkland.edu/ETAinfosession.

For more information on Parkland College's Early Transfer Academy, please visit parkland.edu/ETA. For questions, contact the Parkland College Early College Services office at 217/353-2663.

See 2019'S Only Full Lunar Eclipse through Telescopes

Planetarium, CUAS to provide free, closer views of Jan. 20 event

Residents can enjoy free telescopic viewing of next month's total lunar eclipse, the only such eclipse visible for the area in 2019.  

The William M. Staerkel Planetarium at Parkland College will join the CU Astronomical Society in making telescopes available to the public for the Sunday, Jan. 20 eclipse starting at 9 p.m., weather-permitting.  

A total lunar eclipse occurs when the Full Moon passes through Earth's shadow. Given the Moon's orbit is five degrees off Earth's orbital plan, most Full Moons miss Earth's shadow. The darkest part of Earth's shadow will encroach upon the Moon at 9:34 p.m. CST. The Moon will be completely in shadow by 10:41 p.m. and will remain there for about an hour. The Moon will begin to emerge from the shadow at 11:44 p.m., leaving a Full Moon in the sky again by 12:51 a.m. Monday.   

At mid-eclipse (11:12 p.m.), the Moon may take on a reddish hue, often referred to as a "blood Moon". The sight has nothing to do with blood, however. It occurs because sunlight, bending through Earth's atmosphere, often hits the Moon; the atmosphere then scatters some of the blue part of the spectrum (what brings our blue skies), leaving this reddish light.  

Of course, dark skies are not needed to see a lunar eclipse, and unlike their solar counterparts, they are very safe to watch. 

Please note that this lunar viewing is not a planetarium show; it will be held outside. CUAS members will be outside the planetarium beginning at 9 p.m. observing the eclipse. The planetarium offers ample parking and a lobby where residents can warm up. Participants should park in the M1 parking lot and dress warmly!

Call the planetarium at 217/351-2567 for updates to the viewing if the weather seems uncertain.  

[Image sourcenasa.gov]

Ready for a bachelor's or master's degree? Use your Parkland credits! The following colleges will have representatives on hand this spring in the Student Union (unless otherwise noted) to discuss four-year degrees and transfer options.

Eastern Illinois University
College Center, X wing lounge
Thursday, March 14
Monday, April 8
10 am–1 pm
Representative: Ryan Howard

School of the Art Institute of Chicago
Wednesday, March 27
10 am–1 pm
Representative: Sioban Lombardi

Private Illinois Colleges, Universities Fair
Wednesday, April 10
10:30 am–1:30 pm

University of Missouri-St. Louis
Monday, April 15
10 am–1 pm
Representative: Zakery Tierney

University of Illinois Springfield
Monday, April 15
10 am–1 pm
Representative: Miranda Swope

Aurora University
Tuesday, April 16
10 am–1 pm
Representative: Barbara McCarthy

High school and home school students and their families can learn more about an early college program that could reduce the time it takes to earn an associate's degree or bachelor's degree after high school. 

An informational session on the Early Transfer Academy (ETA) has been set for Monday, Dec. 3 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Parkland College's Student Union, Room U140. College faculty and administrators will be on hand to discuss the academy, its benefits to students, and the eligibility requirements for participation. 

As participants in the Early Transfer Academy (ETA), high school juniors and seniors will enroll in early-morning classes at Parkland College that meet the State of Illinois' General Education Core Curriculum. The GECC "package" of courses will then transfer as lower-division, general education requirements at public colleges and universities across the state. This could mean a significant savings in college costs as well as a greater chance at college success because of experiences gained on Parkland's campus. 
 
"I was really excited about getting my college credit done as soon as possible," said one current ETA student. "I just really want to get on with my career."

All families are welcome to attend the information session; however, parents of current sophomore- and junior-level students will have particular interest in attending, as these students will be the participants in the ETA.

Register to attend the information session at parkland.edu/ETAinfosession.

For more information on Parkland College's Early Transfer Academy, please visit parkland.edu/ETA. For questions, contact the Parkland College Early College Services office at 217/353-2663.

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