Michelle Nichols, M.Ed.

Official Website of Author, Astronomy Educator, and Speaker

Purchase copies of my book on eBay!

Astronomy Lab for Kids: 52 Family-Friendly Activities


Available Presentations & Dates

The downloadable PDF below is a list of my current presentations. See something you like? Let me know! Don't see something you want? I may be able to create a custom presentation for you. Just ask!
Due to work commitments on periodic Monday evenings, Wednesday evenings, and periodic Thursday evenings, my availability will change depending on the time of year during 2021 and 2022. Please refer to the following list before requesting a date.
When I am available:
  • Monday evenings, specifically:
    • July 2021
    • September to November 2021
    • April to November 2022
  • Tuesday evenings, specifically:
    • available anytime
  • Thursday evenings, specifically:
    • First, second, and fourth Thursdays of each month
When I am unavailable:
  • Wednesday evenings, through end of 2022
  • Third Thursday of each month, through end of 2022
  • Dates already booked by other institutions (see below)
  • Week of Thanksgiving
  • December 24-January 3
  • March 30, 2024 through April 8, 2024
Apologies if the above list is confusing! The main reasons for the haphazard availability are various evening commitments due to my job. If you aren't sure about a particular date, just ask. I can tell you if I am available.
Presentations online: All my programs are available to be presented via the online platform of your choice. I have extensive experience using Zoom Meeting, Zoom Webinar, and Google Meet. Your organization is required to provide the online Zoom or Google account to use for the program. I also can post a video of a prerecorded presentation to YouTube for a mutually agreeable time period.
Speaking fees: My speaking fee is $125 for online programs. For in-person programs, my fee is $125 plus mileage (mileage varies by host location and date; inquire before booking for me to give you a total fee including mileage).
Booking discounts: If it is the first time you are booking with me AND you book more than one program at that time, I am happy to offer a 10% discount** on my speaking fee (mileage/travel fees not included in discount). You must mention the booking discount when inquiring. **Note: Due to the extensive reworking of my presentations needed to make them suitable for recording and posting the video to YouTube, this booking discount does not apply for pre-recorded/YouTube-only presentations, only for in-person or Zoom/Google Meet-based live presentations.
Audio-visual and setup needs: My presentations generally utilize PowerPointTM. For in-person programs, I can bring my PC laptop, or if you would like me to use yours, I can either bring my presentation on a flash drive or if your computer is connected to the internet, I can access it online via a secure account. My presentations generally require only a projector and a screen. If you don't have a projector with a VGA or HDMI connector cable, I can bring my own projector.
Age recommendations: All my programs are appropriate for adults. If children wish to attend, it is at the discretion of their parents or guardians, though a general recommendation is that programs would be appropriate for children ages 10 and up. If you aren’t sure about the age recommendation for a program, please ask. I do not generally offer programs specifically for children, as these programs would be designed very differently from adult-age programs.
Looking for program connections or need some suggestions? A few ideas are below:
  • If you are a location that hasn't hosted me previously, I highly recommend starting with Armchair Tour of the Solar System, Through the Eyes of Hubble, Roving the Red Planet, or Astronomy Using Your Eyes. These are the programs that have traditionally and consistently brought in the largest audiences.
  • The Perseverance Rover is scheduled to land on Mars on February 18, 2021. Program connection: Roving the Red Planet
  • March is Women's History Month. Program connection: Women in Astronomy
  • Does your library have a telescope for patrons to check out and you need a program to help people begin to use the telescope? Try Intro to Skywatching with a Telescope.
  • There is a partial lunar eclipse on May 26, 2021, a partial solar eclipse on June 10, 2021, a partial (almost total) lunar eclipse on November 19, 2021, and total lunar eclipses on May 15, 2022 and November 8, 2022. Program connection: Astronomy Using Your Eyes
  • There are also numerous days throughout the year to celebrate may different foods. Program connection: Space Food: Past, Present, & Future.
  • The yearly anniversary of Earth Day is April 22. Program connection: The Science of Climate Change.
  • The next major telescope, the James Webb Space Telescope, is scheduled to launch no earlier than October 31, 2021. Program connection: Through the Eyes of Hubble
  • The next major solar eclipses will be on Oct 14, 2023 (43% coverage of the Sun in the Chicago area) and April 8, 2024 (94% coverage of the Sun in the Chicago area). Remember the eclipse craziness of 2017? It'll happen all over again -- and possibly even more so, since the path of the totality portion of the solar eclipse will be about 150 miles closer to Chicago than in 2017. Program connection: The Great North American Eclipse.
  • Words of advice: Please request your 2023 and 2024 solar eclipse presentation dates AS EARLY AS POSSIBLE, ideally starting in September 2022. I was fully booked-up by December 2016 for programs in June, July, and August 2017. It's never too early, but "too late" comes quickly for an extremely popular topic like this.


Michelle Nichols is Director of Public Observing at the Adler Planetarium in Chicago, IL, and has worked at the Adler since June 1995. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Physics and Astronomy from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a Master of Education degree in Curriculum and Instruction from National-Louis University. Ms. Nichols leads all of the Adler Planetarium's telescope, observatory, and public sky observing initiatives and events.


Ms. Nichols has served as an advisor for several children’s books: Superfast Rockets, Space: Surviving in Zero-G, Ellen Ochoa: Reach for the Stars, and The Space Shuttle Challenger Explosion, as well as the Scholastic News Nonfiction Readers series: The Sun, Mercury, Venus, Earth, The Moon, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto: Dwarf Planet, and Comets.


Astronomy Lab for Kids (2016) is Michelle's first book as author.


Feb 23 - 7 pm - Astronomy Using Your Eyes - Naperville Public Library

Feb 25 - 7 pm - Roving the Red Planet - Homer Township Public Library

Mar 11 - 7 pm - Women in Astronomy - Flossmoor Public Library

Mar 18 - 7 pm - Women in Astronomy - White Oak Public Library

Mar 23 - 7 pm - Women in Astronomy - Prairie Trails Public Library

Mar 24 - 6 pm - Women in Astronomy - Three Rivers Public Library

Mar 29 - 6:30 pm - Women in Astronomy - Bloomingdale Public Library

Apr 8 - 7 pm - Armchair Tour of the Solar System - Wheaton Public Library

Apr 22 - 7 pm - The Science of Climate Change - North Riverside Public Library

May 12 - 7 pm - Icy Worlds - Fremont Public Library

Jun 29 - 7 pm - Looking for Earth Elsewhere - Rolling Meadows Public Library

Jul 12 - 6:30 pm - Roving the Red Planet - Bloomingdale Public Library

Jul 27 - 6:30 pm - Armchair Tour of the Solar System - Palos Heights Public Library

Coming in May 2021: Pre-recorded/YouTube program for Dothan Houston County Library System, Ashford, Alabama.

Please confirm program dates/times, registration requirements, and/or registration residency restrictions with individual program hosts. All programs are for hosts located in Illinois, unless otherwise stated.




For media inquiries or questions regarding speaking engagement appearances and fees, or if you would like to purchase my book in bulk, please contact me:

astroeducator {at} aol {dot} com

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© 2021 by Michelle Nichols. Proudly created with WIX.COM. Page last updated: 24 Jan 2021