The Parkland College Blog

Planetarium Turns Attention Down to Soils in December

Can humans enhance soil services before it's too late?

  • Anonym |
  • 0

Everyone who has a garden knows the role soil has in growing crops and sees how farmland around central Illinois is dependent on soil conditions. Scientists such as Dr. Andrew Margenot are investigating the interdependence between human activities and soil quality; he will provide insight into his research for the James Kaler Science Lecture Series at the William M. Staerkel Planetarium next month.

Margenot, assistant professor of soil science in the Department of Crop Sciences at the University of Illinois, will discuss "Soils and Human Security" on Friday, Dec. 6 at 7 p.m. Admission is $2 at the door with Friends of the Staerkel Planetarium admitted free of charge.

Although we have it perpetually underfoot, we rarely think of the soils that underpin human society. Soils provide services essential to human well-being and survival. Moreover, because soils are responsive to human activities, our species can compromise or enhance soil services. As we dive deeper into the Anthropocene, the time period where human impact on ecosystems has become significant, how we understand and manage this nonrenewable resource is starting to shift. But will we be able to change our perspective and approach on soils before it is too late?

Margenot completed a PhD in Soils and Biogeochemistry from University of California, Davis, researching nutrient cycling in California and East African agroecosystems, after which he continued at UC Davis as a postdoctoral researcher studying copper contamination of soils. Margenot’s work addresses the literal foundation of all cropping systems: soils. He is advancing how we monitor and manage soils as natural capital. His research team evaluates how human activities can enhance or compromise soil services to human societies, with an emphasis on food security and profitability in the US Midwest and the developing tropics.

After the presentation by Margenot, the Staerkel Planetarium will kick off the winter holidays with the 2019 premiere of the full-dome feature, "Season of Light," at 8 p.m. Tickets for regular programs range from $5 to $6 per person. For a full show schedule, visit the planetarium website or call 217/351-2446.
 

Parkland Jazz Combo to Perform Nov. 25

Hear tunes by Frank Foster, Pat Metheny, others in free concert

  • Anonym |
  • 0

The Parkland Jazz Combo will be performing Monday, Nov. 25, at 7 p.m. at Parkland College Theatre's Second Stage.

Led by Kevin Hart, the ensemble will perform selections from artists such as Frank Foster, Pat Metheny, Charlie Christian, Paul Desmond, and Jeff Lorber. 

This concert is free and open to the public. For more information on Parkland College music performances, visit parkland.edu/music.

Parkland Jazz Combo Concert Nov. 25

Hear tunes by Frank Foster, Pat Metheny, Charlie Christian, more

  • Anonym |
  • 0

The Parkland Jazz Combo will be performing Monday, Nov. 25, at 7 p.m. at Parkland College Theatre's Second Stage.

Led by Kevin Hart, the ensemble will perform selections from artists such as Frank Foster, Pat Metheny, Charlie Christian, Paul Desmond, and Jeff Lorber. 

This concert is free and open to the public. For more information on Parkland College music performances, visit parkland.edu/music.

"Peter and the Starcatcher" at Parkland Theatre Nov. 14–24

Family-friendly introduction to young orphan who would become Peter Pan

  • Anonym |
  • 0

The family-friendly show "Peter and the Starcatcher" comes to Parkland College's Harold and Jean Miner Theatre Nov. 14–24.  
 
Adapted by Rick Elice from the novel by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson,"Peter and the Starcatcher" introduces audiences to the young orphan who would become Peter Pan as well as to some dastardly pirates, some lost boys, and a  brave girl named Molly.

A small group of actors will portray a hundred characters in sea battles, jungle adventures, and other exciting escapades. It's a wildly theatrical journey into the imagination for kids, grownups, and those who will never grow up. Mathew Green directs a cast that includes, Jace Jamison, Emaline Johnson, Jess Schlipf, Rachel Hejmanowski, Lincoln Machula, Zoë Dunn, Tommy Howie, Parker Evans, Thom Billam, Laura Alcantara, Stephanie Swearingen, Sam Gegg, and Wesley Bennett.
 
The Parkland Theatre will hold a talkback immediately following the Nov. 14 show; Green and members of the cast and crew will be on hand to discuss the show and answer audience questions.  
 
Performances take place in the Harold and Jean Miner Theatre Nov. 14, 15, 16, 22 and 23 at 7:30 p.m. and Nov. 17 and 24 at 3 p.m. **The Nov. 17 show will be a sensory-safe performance.**

Tickets are $20 for Adult, $18 for Student/Youth/Senior/Veteran and $16 each for reserved groups of 10 or more. Opening night is half-price night. To make reservations, visit parkland.edu/theatre or call the show hotline at 217/351-2528.  
 
To request accessibility-related accommodations, please contact Accessibility Services at 217/353-2338 or email accessibilityservices@parkland.eduPlease submit all requests two weeks in advance of your participation or visit.

Use Solar Telescopes to See Last Transit Until 2049

Safely watch Mercury pass directly between Earth and the Sun, Nov. 11

  • Anonym |
  • 0

The William M. Staerkel Planetarium will host a viewing of the transit of Mercury, the rare occasion where Mercury appears to move in front of the Sun, on Monday, Nov. 11.
 
The planetarium will join the Champaign–Urbana Astronomical Society (CUAS) in setting up telescopes for the public throughout the morning. weather permitting; the transit will be visible from just after sunrise until 12:07 p.m.
 
Transits occur when planets pass directly between Earth and the Sun. This can only happen with the planets closer to the Sun, Mercury and Venus. Since the Sun is much larger than either of them and they are much farther than the Moon, they make a small silhouette on the Sun's disk instead of eclipsing our star. Transits of Venus are very rare; two occurred in 2004 and 2012, but the next one will happen in 2117.

Since Mercury is closer to the Sun, transits are a little more common. A transit of Mercury was visible in Champaign in 2006 and in 2016. However, the next one we can see from Illinois will be in 2049, so this Veterans Day will be the last chance to see such an event for a while.
 
Please note that this is a solar observing event, not a planetarium show. Observing the Sun requires special filters, and Mercury is too small to see the disk without a telescope. The planetarium and the CU Astronomical Society will set up telescopes designed to observe safely. When observing the Sun, you may also see a sunspot or a prominence, but it is unlikely, since the 11-year cycle of sunspot activity has reached a minimum.
 
The planetarium offers ample parking and a lobby where residents can warm up if the morning temperatures are cold. Participants should park in the M1 parking lot and dress in layers. Call the planetarium at 217/351-2567 for updates to the viewing if the weather seems uncertain.

[image from nasa.gov]

First678910121415