Smile Politely

Staerkel Planetarium will be hosting a weekend trip to see next month’s solar eclipse

On August 21st at 11:53 am, the moon will begin to cover the sun in what is the first coast-to-coast solar eclipse since 1918. It just so happens that one of the most optimal places in the country to view the eclipse is south of C-U, within the confines of Illinois.

To celebrate, Parkland College‘s Staerkel Planetarium (in conjunction with the C-U Astronomical Society and the Twin City Amateur Astronomers) is offering accommodation in southern Illinois for your eclipse viewing pleasure.

For more information about the eclipse as a whole, check out Parkland’s write-up here, and for information on how you can register to go on their trip, check out this snippet below:

The William M. Staerkel Planetarium is partnering with the Champaign-Urbana Astronomical Society and Twin City Amateur Astronomers (from Bloomington-Normal) to offer a weekend of observing from Camp Ondessonk (, a Catholic youth camp located southeast of Marion and just south of Ozark, Illinois. The camp can provide rustic lodging and all meals for $115 per person. CUAS and TCAA will provide educational workshops on Sunday, the day before the eclipse, plus a dark-sky star party on Sunday night (weather permitting). Meals will be served in the camp dining hall. Tent camping is also allowed. If you would like to join us on our eclipse trek, you need to register by August 1. Point your web browser to for more information. The planetarium will not be accepting registrations and there will be no event at the planetarium on the day of the eclipse.

Let’s hope for clear weather! IF we miss this event, the next “Great American Eclipse” will be on April 8, 2024!

The planetarium will be including information about the eclipse during our Friday night “Prairie Skies” star show. For more information on this event and how to observe it, go to the Staerkel Planetarium’s website and click on the image of the solar eclipse.

More Articles