The William M. Staerkel Planetarium welcomes a favorite University of Illinois astronomer back to the dome for another talk in the "World of Science" lecture series.
Professor emeritus Dr. James B. Kaler will present "From Out of Nowhere...Comets!" Friday, December 6 at 7 p.m. Admission is $1 at the door, with Friends of the Staerkel Planetarium admitted free of charge.
Comets have received a bad rap in the history of studying the sky. These mysterious interlopers grace our skies for a few weeks, then disappear. Kaler will discuss the beauty and meaning of both historical and recent comets, what they mean to us now, and their role in the creation of Planet Earth. The topic is timely, with the much-anticipated Comet ISON recently fragmented in our morning sky.
Kaler earned his PhD in astronomy from UCLA. He has been with the University of Illinois since 1964 where he has published more than 120 papers involving dying stars. More recently, he has published nearly 20 books, including his latest, First Magnitude: A Book of the Bright Sky
. He operates two educational websites, including weekly sky information "Skylights" and the "Star of the Week." In 2008 he received the prestigious Education Prize from the American Astronomical Society.
Following Kaler's talk, the planetarium will present the show Secrets of the Sun
. Tickets for regular planetarium shows range from $4 to $5. For more information on all planetarium programs, please visit our website
or call the show hotline at 217/351-2446.
[Time lapse image by NASA]