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updated: 1/10/2014 2:52 PM

Check out what's up from NASA educator at library program

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By Susan Miura

"Astronomy compels the soul to look upward, and leads us from this world to another." Plato's words, spoken more than 2,000 years ago, still ring true.

A lot has changed since the famed philosopher roamed the earth, but people from every corner of the world continue to gaze at our star-filled sky. Marvelling. Pondering. How was it formed? What would we find if we could visit the moon, planets and galaxies "far, far away?" Astronomers may not have all the answers, but after thousands of years of space study, they've learned a lot. If you would like to discover some of what the experts have uncovered, come to Astronomy 101 programs at the Schaumburg Township District Library, 130 S. Roselle Road.

Taught by Michelle Nichols, Master Educator for NASA Forum Programs at Chicago's Adler Planetarium, Astronomy 101 will provide novice-appropriate information and fascinating slides in monthly, 90-minute sessions. Each session covers a different topic, and you are welcome to attend one, a couple, or all of them. Please note that registration is required for all of the following programs.

Coming up in January is "Our Earth and Moon," from 7:30 to 9 p.m., Tuesday, Jan. 21, in the library's Rasmussen South Room on the second floor. Nichols will present an overview of the Earth and Moon, their formations, evolutions and structures.

February's Astronomy 101 program is "Planets All around Us" from 7:30 to 9 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 19, in the Rasmussen South Room. Simultaneously unique and similar, the planets orbiting our Sun are a fascinating mix of terrestrial, Jovian, minor and dwarf. Nichols will explain the various types and additionally discuss the insights meteors may provide regarding the formation of our Solar System.

In March, astronomy aficionados won't want to miss another Astronomy 101 session, "Using Your Eyeballs," from 7:30- to 9 p.m., Monday, March 31, in the Rasmussen South Room. Come and encounter celestial bodies which can be seen without a telescope. Learn about moon phases, eclipses, planets, stars and much more.

To register for these and other programs, stop by the library's Information/Magazines Desk on the second floor, or call (847) 923-3347. Who knows? Pretty soon words like nebula, ablation, caldera and hypergalaxy will be popping up in your daily conversations.