Learn about solar eclipses, dinosaurs at McHenry County College planetarium shows

McHenry County College invites the community to explore the wonders of outer space with a series of upcoming shows in its state-of-the-art planetarium.

The first show, "Eclipses of the Sun," will be 6-7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 22 from 6-7 p.m. and again from 7:30-8:30 p.m. The show will teach audience members what to expect during the upcoming "ring of fire" solar eclipse on Oct. 14 and the "total" solar eclipse on April 8, 2024, including how to safely view the eclipses and why it will be worth it to travel to the path of eclipse totality.

On Saturday, Sept. 23, the planetarium will be showing "Dinosaurs of Antarctica" from 10-11 a.m. and "Perfect Little Planet" from noon-1 p.m. "Dinosaurs of Antarctica" will take attendees to the south polar landscapes hundreds of millions of years ago to roam the primitive forest and thick swamps to encounter bizarre dinosaurs and colossal amphibians, while "Perfect Little Planet" will invite the audience to explore the surface of Pluto, the rings of Saturn, and the lightning storms of Jupiter.

Looking for Halloween activities for the family? Mark your calendars for Oct. 20 from 6-7 p.m., 7:30-8:30 p.m., or Oct. 21 from noon-1 p.m. for "Halloween Celestial Origins," a show about the astronomical history of this "cross-quarter" holiday. We'll also learn what planets, constellations, and stars will be out on your spooky Halloween evening.

For the winter holidays, the planetarium will be showing "Let it Snow" from 10-11 a.m., 12-1 p.m. Dec. 2, and 5-6 p.m. Dec. 9 from 5-6 p.m. "The Christmas Star" will also be shown from 7-8 p.m. Dec. 9. Tickets for the winter holiday shows will be available soon.

Other upcoming planetarium shows include another showing of "Eclipses of the Sun" and "Our Violent Planet" on Nov. 10 and "Worlds of Curiosity" and "Dinosaurs of Antarctica" on Nov. 11. Full descriptions of each show can be viewed at

Each show is open to the public and costs $12 per person. Space is limited to 45 people per show. All shows are appropriate for children. Reservations are required and can be made at McHenry County College is at 8900 Route 14, Crystal Lake.

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