Dark Energy Survey Snaps Its Last Picture

Brenna Flaugher and Tom Diehl inside the observatory that houses the Dark Energy Camera in Chile

Brenna Flaugher and Tom Diehl inside the observatory that houses the Dark Energy Camera in Chile

A pretty amazing project that started at Fermi-Lab isn’t quite complete but an important part of the process wrapped up in recent weeks. Up next could be the compilation of one of the most incredible photo albums. First Light host Brian O’Keefe sat down with Dark Energy Camera designer Brenna Flaugher and Dark Energy Survey Deputy Director Tom Diehl. The husband and wife researchers talked about their big science project

Dark Energy researchers Brenna Flaugher and Tom Diehl (center) outside the observatory in Chile

Dark Energy researchers Brenna Flaugher and Tom Diehl (center) outside the observatory in Chile

Researchers routunely watched the Chilean sunset with the viscachas before heading into the observatory to take pictures of galaxies as part of the ‘Dark Energy Survey’

Researchers routunely watched the Chilean sunset with the viscachas before heading into the observatory to take pictures of galaxies as part of the ‘Dark Energy Survey’

Roller Derby Is Alive and Well In Aurora

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Pitchers and catchers don’t report to spring training for another several weeks, but in Aurora jammers and blockers are already training. The Aurora 88s are preparing for a new season of flat-track roller derby. First Light host Brian O’Keefe went out to the Aurora Skate Center recently to see the team practice

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Winter Pruning of Trees and Shrubs

U of I Extension educator Richard Hentschel joins First Light host Brian O’Keefe periodically for the ‘Farm to Table’ segment

U of I Extension educator Richard Hentschel joins First Light host Brian O’Keefe periodically for the ‘Farm to Table’ segment

Periodically at First Light, University of Illinois Extension educator Richard Hentschel and host Brian O’Keefe get together for the ‘Farm to Table’ segment. They discuss everything from agriculture and agri-business to backyard gardening and your home landscape. This week, Richard and Brian ventured out into the snow and visited Platt Hill Nursery. Nursery Manager Chrissie Sieff took us out to an enclosure of saplings to talk about what the trees and shrubs in your yard need at this time of year

University of Illinois Extension educator Richard Hentschel suggests leaving snow to slowly melt off trees and shrubs rather than attempting to clean if from frozen and brittle branches

University of Illinois Extension educator Richard Hentschel suggests leaving snow to slowly melt off trees and shrubs rather than attempting to clean if from frozen and brittle branches

Planning For Champaign County Solar Farm

Beginnings of an enormous solar power installation in Champaign County (photo courtesy of Jim Meadows/WILL)

Beginnings of an enormous solar power installation in Champaign County (photo courtesy of Jim Meadows/WILL)

This week in the First Light look at stories from around the state, we have this story from Illinois Public Radio’s Jim Meadows. Maybe you’ve noticed wind farms when driving through parts of rural Illinois. The groups of wind turbines were among the first signs of the renewable energy industry in the state. Now, another seems to be on the way. Illinois will soon be home to solar farms. Solar panels will cover dozens, even hundreds of acres. Jim Meadows has the story of how a proposal to develop solar power is playing out in Champaign County

SUE IS BACK!

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The Museum of Science and Industry has the coal mine, the Shedd Aquarium has its beluga whales, and the Lincoln Park Zoo AND the Art Institute have their lions. Now, once again, the Field Museum has SUE. First Light host Brian O’Keefe met with one of the exhibit designers who worked to create the new gallery space for SUE

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Visitors line up to get a picture with the massive Tyrannosaurus Rex fossil SUE

Visitors line up to get a picture with the massive Tyrannosaurus Rex fossil SUE

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Mushing In Northern Illinois

Rich Kisseloff and his lead dog Guinness

Rich Kisseloff and his lead dog Guinness

Yes, it’s cold, and there’s a little snow on the ground; but that’s no reason to stay inside. It’s a safe bet Algonquin resident Rich Kisseloff won’t be spending much time on the couch at this time of year. First Light host Brian O’Keefe talked with Rich about dog sledding and his preparations for the World Championships in Europe.

Rich Kisseloff’s van serves as mobile kennel, gear shed and locker room as he travels to racing events across North America

Rich Kisseloff’s van serves as mobile kennel, gear shed and locker room as he travels to racing events across North America

Algonquin resident Rich Kisseloff competing at a ski-jouring event

Algonquin resident Rich Kisseloff competing at a ski-jouring event

Taking Photography To New Heights

Photographer Ron Frazier used a drone to get a new perspective on the Illinois landscape (image courtesy of Laura Kennedy/WGLT)

Photographer Ron Frazier used a drone to get a new perspective on the Illinois landscape (image courtesy of Laura Kennedy/WGLT)

This week in the First Light look at stories from around the state, the Illinois landscape is a favorite subject for artists who capture the subtle lines of the horizon and features of the prairie in their art. Central Illinois photographer Ron Fraizer decided to take a different approach. He kept his feet on the ground even as his camera soared above him. Illinois Public Radio’s Laura Kennedy talked with Ron about his pictures and his use of new technology

A grain elevator at sunset in central Illinois was the subject of one of Ron Frazier’s photos on exhibit in central Illinois (Image courtesy of Ron Frazier)

A grain elevator at sunset in central Illinois was the subject of one of Ron Frazier’s photos on exhibit in central Illinois (Image courtesy of Ron Frazier)

Exhibit Celebrates Elmhurst History

Interactive map table lets Elmhurst History Museum visitors view the city’s growth through the decades

Interactive map table lets Elmhurst History Museum visitors view the city’s growth through the decades

Museums get a lot of attention when they debut a new exhibit, but there are also permanent exhibits at local museums across the region. Visitors often overlook the long term exhibits. First Light host Brian O’Keefe stopped by the Elmhurst History Museum this week and found a pretty amazing exhibit

The Elmhurst History Museum’s “By All Accounts” exhibit goes from the city’s earliest settlers to modern day DuPage County

The Elmhurst History Museum’s “By All Accounts” exhibit goes from the city’s earliest settlers to modern day DuPage County

Images From The Edge Of The Solar System

The New Horizons space probe sent an image of a distant object from the edge of the solar system back to researchers on Earth this week (photo courtesy of NASA.gov)

The New Horizons space probe sent an image of a distant object from the edge of the solar system back to researchers on Earth this week (photo courtesy of NASA.gov)

On the first Sunday of each month College of DuPage Astronomy professor Joe DalSanto joins First Light host Brian O’Keefe to talk a little space news and to let backyard astronomers know what they can expect to see in the coming month. Before we could get to the night sky, there was big space news this week from the edge of the solar system

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Commit To Fitness in 2019

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For many people, last week’s turn of the calendar is the impetus to rededicate themselves to personal fitness. So not surprisingly, this is the time of year when gyms and fitness centers see a surge in activity. Matt Cousins is Manager of the Chaparral Fitness Center at College of DuPage. He welcomes people intent on turning over a new leaf. First Light host Brian O’Keefe stopped by the Fitness Center this week to talk with Matt about what you need to keep in mind if you’re looking to increase to crunches and reduce your couch time

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Brining Mindfulness to Central Illinois Schools

Illinois State junior basketball player Frannie Corrigan demonstrates a mindfulness exercise before a recent practice at Redbird Arena.   (photo courtesy of WGLT/Eric Stock)

Illinois State junior basketball player Frannie Corrigan demonstrates a mindfulness exercise before a recent practice at Redbird Arena. (photo courtesy of WGLT/Eric Stock)

This week in the First Light look at stories from around the state, educators are becoming increasingly concerned about students bringing anxiety to school every day. Whether they worry about families, food or phones, teachers expect young people to set those things aside. Illinois Public Radio’s Eric Stock looks at a pilot program in central Illinois. It’s part of a growing trend to improve classroom performance by helping students become mentally and emotionally ready to learn

Abby Lyons leads a stretching exercise for fifth grade students at Oakdale Elementary School in Normal.   (photo courtesy of WGLT/Eric Stock)

Abby Lyons leads a stretching exercise for fifth grade students at Oakdale Elementary School in Normal. (photo courtesy of WGLT/Eric Stock)

Krampus Visits Those On The Naughty List

Andrew Skic portrays Krampus, the ancient central European half goat, half demon who punishes naughty children at Christmas

Andrew Skic portrays Krampus, the ancient central European half goat, half demon who punishes naughty children at Christmas

You know Dasher, and Dancer, and Prancer and Vixen; but did you know there’s another hooved creature associated with the holiday season? And no…it’s not Rudolph. First Light host Brian O’Keefe went to Des Plaines to learn more about Krampus

Andrew Skic’s handmade Krampus mask sits on the dining room table of his Des Plaines home

Andrew Skic’s handmade Krampus mask sits on the dining room table of his Des Plaines home

A few of the Krampus collectibles at the home of the Northern Illinois Krampus, Andrew Skic

A few of the Krampus collectibles at the home of the Northern Illinois Krampus, Andrew Skic

What To Know Before You Pop A Bottle Of Bubbly

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What was once a drink reserved for special occasions has become very nearly an everyday treat. Many people will want to pick up a bottle or two of sparkling wine over the next week. Alixe Lishett is the owner of Cabernet & Co. in downtown Glen Ellyn. The store stocks a wide variety of wine, and of course plenty of bubbly to help you celebrate Christmas and ring in the New Year. First Light host Brian O’Keefe visited with Alixe earlier this week for a quick primmer on the category that starts with a pop

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A Special Christmas Eve Message From 1968

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This Christmas season marks an important anniversary in American and world history. It was 50 years ago that the Apollo 8 mission saw astronauts Jim Lovell, Frank Borman, and William Anders become the first men to leave Earth orbit, travel to the moon, orbit the moon, and safely return. The historic flight gave the crew a never before seen perspective of their home planet. Millions of miles from home for Christmas they delivered a message for everyone back on Earth

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Christmas At Bishop Hill

This week in our look at stories from around the state, we travel out to far western Illinois. Bishop Hill is off the beaten path, nestled among farm fields. That hasn't stopped the small community from working to preserve its Swedish heritage and maintain its status as an international tourist destination. Illinois Public Radio’s Emily Boyer visited the historic community

The Colony Church at Bishop Hill (photo courtesy of WIUM)

The Colony Church at Bishop Hill (photo courtesy of WIUM)

Three children dressed as Star Boys and a Lucia Girl welcome guests to the Creative Commons in Bishop Hill (photo courtesy of WIUM)

Three children dressed as Star Boys and a Lucia Girl welcome guests to the Creative Commons in Bishop Hill (photo courtesy of WIUM)

The Animated Holiday Specials Of Rankin-Bass

Rick Goldschmidt’s new book looks at the Rankin-Bass TV special “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town”

Rick Goldschmidt’s new book looks at the Rankin-Bass TV special “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town”

Holiday traditions run the gamut. Some include a special meal or a once a year travel destination, for others they include unwrapping and carefully hanging decorations on the Christmas tree. For an Oaklawn man, this is the time of year when his passion takes center stage. First Light host Brian O’Keefe visited with Rick Goldschmidt

Rick Goldschmidt released his sixth book on the animation of Rankin-Bass in November

Rick Goldschmidt released his sixth book on the animation of Rankin-Bass in November

A small sample of Rick Goldschmidt’s Rankin-Bass collection displayed on top of the refrigerator in the kitchen of his Oak Lawn home

A small sample of Rick Goldschmidt’s Rankin-Bass collection displayed on top of the refrigerator in the kitchen of his Oak Lawn home

Batavia Barber's Holiday Message

Batavia barber Craig Foltos came up with the idea to hang giant letters on the pedestrian bridge over the Fox River

Batavia barber Craig Foltos came up with the idea to hang giant letters on the pedestrian bridge over the Fox River

For the past 10 years, a pedestrian bridge over the Fox has carried a simple holiday message: Peace on Earth. The giant white letters were the brain child of Craig Foltos, he owns a barber shop in downtown Batavia. The shop is just steps away from the view of the sign from the Wilson Avenue bridge. First Light host Brian O’Keefe stopped by the shop this week to talk with Craig about the holiday message

Batavia’s pedestrian bridge over the Fox River has carried a simple holiday message for the past 10 years.

Batavia’s pedestrian bridge over the Fox River has carried a simple holiday message for the past 10 years.

Canadian Pacific Holiday Train Rolls Through Northern Illinois

Even a cold…rainy day couldn’t deter hundreds of people from lining the train tracks across Northern Illinois earlier this month. They were all there to see a special train that staged a spectacular light show as it rolled through the region

The Canadian Pacific Holiday Train crossed northern Illinois twice this holiday season

The Canadian Pacific Holiday Train crossed northern Illinois twice this holiday season

People in Byron got an up close look at the Christmas lights on CP’s annual Holiday Train

People in Byron got an up close look at the Christmas lights on CP’s annual Holiday Train

Local Historian Dives Into Capra Classic

Historian Leslie Goddard brings her It’s A Wonderful Life presentation to the Benesenville Public Library Sunday 12/16

Historian Leslie Goddard brings her It’s A Wonderful Life presentation to the Benesenville Public Library Sunday 12/16

Throughout the year, you might find Darien based historian Leslie Goddard portraying Eleanor Rooosevelt, Amelia Earhart, or Louisa May Alcott at local libraries or historical societies. For the Christmas season, Goddard developed a different presentation. Instead of focusing on a woman in history; she took a deep dive into a holiday tradition, the movie ‘It’s A Wonderful Life.’ First Light host Brian O’Keefe talked with Goddard and she reminded him the movie wasn’t always so universally loved.

Singing Along With Handel

This week in First Light’s look at stories from around the state, the holiday season is a time when many people find their singing voice. Whether it’s caroling with friends and family, singing during a religious service, or in some cases adding their voice to a classical standard. Handel’s oratorio “The Messiah” shows up on concerts regularly this time of year; and some performances call for the audience to join in. Illinois Public Radio’s Guy Stephens has the story

Fox Valley Orchestra Chorus Director Lisa Fredenburgh leads a practice in preparation for the organization’s annual ‘Sing-a-long Messiah’ (photo courtesy of Guy Stephens)

Fox Valley Orchestra Chorus Director Lisa Fredenburgh leads a practice in preparation for the organization’s annual ‘Sing-a-long Messiah’ (photo courtesy of Guy Stephens)