COVID Update:

The planetarium is open this year to both public and private groups. Masks are required per CDC recommendations to comply with ISBE guidelines. If you're interested in scheduling a show for a school or private group, please use our show reservation request form. Check below for upcoming public show schedule!

Doorway of Strickler Planetarium


Ten years ago, the planetarium took a quantum leap forward with the replacement of our venerable Spitz A4 opto-mechanical star projector and the installation of a completely digital Evans and Sutherland Digistar 3 projection system. Now, a decade later, a generous alumni gift in honor of Professor Dwight Stickler has allowed us to upgrade the planetarium's computers, software, and control systems to the brand-new Digistar 6 platform. 

What does this mean for our visitors? When you walk in the doors, you might not notice anything different, as all the updates have been "under the hood"-- but in reality visitors to the planetarium now have a completely new universe at their fingertips. In addition to offering all our previous programming, the Digistar 6 allows a host of new real-time simulations for visiting groups and classes. From high-resolution explorations of the surface of Earth and other planets, to flights through the solar system and beyond, to up-to-the-minute updates on new astronomical discoveries, the Strickler Planetarium is now an even more powerful educational and outreach tool. 

Have you ever wished your class could fly to Jupiter to learn more about its system of moons? Would you like to interact with three-dimensional surveys of distant galaxies and quasars? Do you want to give your class a satellite's-eye view of developing weather systems on Earth? Whatever your group's curricular or educational needs, our trained operators can take you there. More than this though, we can put your audience in the pilot's seat.

Don't just learn about the universe.
Explore it.

Attack of the Space Pirates

Attack of the Space Pirates Theatrical Poster


This full-dome presentation by the creators of The Secret of the Cardboard Rocket is educational fun for the entire family, a space thriller that puts the science back in science fiction. Join the crew of the Starship Intrepid as they race against time to put together clues and assemble an ancient alien technology.  Along the way they encounter various astronomical objects such as exoplanets, giant stars, pulsars, and black holes.

Topics discussed include the life cycles of stars, supernovae, and the way planetary systems evolve over time. Suitable for middle school to adult learners, this show places the viewer in the cockpit for an out-of-this-world learning adventure. Running time approximately 35 minutes, including live star talk.

The Dark Matter Mystery

Dark Matter Mystery logo


Explore contemporary astronomy's greatest puzzle with this presentation on the search for dark matter. Though it makes up the majority of the universe, the nature of this strange material remains unknown. THE DARK MATTER MYSTERY provides an up-to-date examination of the theories and experiments probing the nature of dark matter and its importance for our understanding of the universe. Utilizing spectacular visualizations from particle accelerators to the birth of the universe, THE DARK MATTER MYSTERY is an ideal presentation for older students and adult audiences. Approximate running time 30 minutes. Themes: contemporary astrophysics and the scientific method.

About Strickler Planetarium


Strickler Planetarium


Strickler Planetarium, located on the campus of Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais, Illinois, is a state-of-the-art digital planetarium dedicated to educating the public about the natural world. The planetarium, constructed in 1967, was extensively renovated in 2008 and transitioned from an opto-mechanical star projector to a fully digital projection system. In 2019, the planetarium's capabilities were again upgraded to a brand-new Digistar 6 system. Audiences are immersed as never before in a three-dimensional visualization of the night sky, the solar system, the galaxy, and beyond. The Digistar’s realtime database means that simulated travel through space is more than simple special effects — it’s an actual journey through an accurate model of the known universe, with the audience in the pilot's seat!

Strickler Planetarium is one of only three planetaria in Illinois with digital projection capabilities. Witness the history of the universe from its fiery birth to the formation of our solar system. Explore colliding galaxies and the dusty reaches of our own Milky Way. Take a tour from our own night sky to the edge of the solar system. Our science educators and our multimedia tools make this all possible from the comfort of your seats. Come and see the new Strickler Planetarium.