University of Illinois Astronomer Dr. James B. Kaler returns to the William M. Staerkel Planetarium dome to talk about asteroids, part of the planetarium's "World of Science" lecture series.
Kaler will present "Asteroids: Learning from Nature's Leftover" Friday, December 5, at 7 p.m. Admission is $1; Friends of Staerkel Planetarium are admitted free.
Millions of small bodies, called asteroids, orbit the Sun mostly between the planets Mars and Jupiter. Are they the failed remains of some ancient Earth destroyed by its own civilization? No, but they are not what has been taught in school, either! Recent discoveries show just how strange these asteroids really are and what they have to do with humans.
After the talk, visitors can examine some of them at the Goose Kaler Meteorite exhibit, located in the planetarium lobby. In addition, just after Kaler's presentation, the planetarium will unveil a special piece of memorabilia on loan from the Kaler family.
Kaler earned his PhD from UCLA and has been teaching at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign since 1964. He has earned multiple awards for his research and publications, which include nearly 20 books on astronomy. Asteroid 1998 JK was named "17853 Kaler" in his honor. In 2008, Kaler was awarded the prestigious American Astronomical Society's Education Prize. He is currently professor emeritus at the UIUC.
The planetarium will present the holiday special Season of Light
after the exhibit unveiling. A full schedule of programs may be found at the planetarium's website
or by calling 217/351-2446. Ticket prices for regular programs range from $4 to $5.