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Champaign planetarium teaches Latino families about the stars in Spanish

Staerkel Planetarium at Parkland College

CHAMPAIGN – The William M. Staerkel Planetarium at Parkland College continues to teach about the galaxy in Spanish at their dome-shaped theater.

Ricardo Covarrubias is a professor at Parkland College and is in charge of the event. He said he hopes this will strengthen the planetarium’s relationship within local Latino families.

“Kids cannot come alone, so they come with their parents. I would like to have the parents go out with the kids. And afterwards, I want them to say, ‘Oh my god, Big Bird showed us the North Pole Star!’ and then go outside together, look at the sky and see where it is.”

This weekend’s two Spanish-language shows were Saturday at 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. The earlier showing was catered toward a younger audience. Big Bird from Sesame street explained the solar system and all things constellations, while the later show was less kid-focused.

Covarrubias said the college wants to increase interest in astronomy among the local Latino community.

“Make them get interested or have them interested in going out and see the local sky and learn about what they can see and recognize patterns on the sky and recognize stars. Teach them how to find the Milky Way and things like that.”

Next weekend will offer sensory-friendly shows, which are catered to guests with autism and others with sensory sensitivities. Tickets are available for purchase at the planetarium and are priced at $6 for adults and $5 for children or students. 

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Luis Velazquez-Perez

Luis Velazquez-Perez

Luis Velazquez- Perez recently earned a B.S. in Journalism with a minor in Latina/Latino studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He is now pursuing his Master's in Journalism. Aside as an intern at Illinois Newsroom, Velazquez-Perez has written for The Daily Illini, Cicero Independiente and C-U CitizenAccess. He aspires to be a bilingual public radio journalist

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