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SMC|Administration & College Governance|Marketing|Events|Planetarium Shows Lectures

Planetarium Shows Lectures


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planetarium shows& lectures

Tickets for planetarium shows and lectures may be purchased at the door on the evening of the show, or in advance at the SMC Theatre Arts Box Office (Theatre Arts Complex, SMC Main Campus; limited hours). Shows (except selected guest lectures) are held in the John Drescher Planetarium, located on SMC’s Main Campus in Drescher Hall Room 223. Admission to a single show or lecture is $6 ($5 seniors age 60+ and children age 12 and under). You can enjoy both the Night Sky Show and that evening’s scheduled Feature Show or Guest Lecture for the double-bill price of $11 ($9 seniors and children). For information, visit our website (​) or call (310) 434-3005. All shows subject to change or cancellation without notice.

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The Night Sky Show

Our Digistar II planetarium projector recreates the celestial wonders of the ever-changing night sky—as you would see it far from city lights—in a 50-minute show updated weekly with the latest news in space exploration and astronomy. Bring the whole family to “tour” the constellations and ask questions about anything related to astronomy. The Night Sky Show costs $6 ($5 seniors age 60+ and children age 12 and under) and is presented on the following dates:

Fri, October 10, 17, 24

Fri, November 7, 14, 21

Fri, December 5, 12

Fri, January 9, 16, 23, 30

7pm | Planetarium

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Feature Shows & Guest Lectures

Planetarium Feature Shows and Guest Lectures are presented at 8 p.m. on Fridays when the Night Sky Show is scheduled. For further information, please call (310) 434-4767. Admission is $6 ($5 seniors age 60+ and children age 12 and under).

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2015: Dwarf Planet Exploration!

In the coming calendar year, we expect to witness the first close encounters with two objects classified as “Dwarf Planets” by astronomers since the controversial votes at the 2006 IAU meetings established this category of objects. No matter what you call them, Ceres, the largest object in the main asteroid belt, and Pluto, the first “Trans-Neptunian Object” discovered, are fascinating objects of study. We will preview the March encounter with Ceres by the DAWN spacecraft, and this summer’s flyby of Pluto by New Horizons.

Fri, October 10, 17 | 8pm | Planetarium


Holiday Telescope Buyer Survival Guide

Considering a holiday gift of a telescope for that budding young scientist or newly star-struck adult? You’ll quickly find a bewildering array of choices and a whole new jargon when you shop for a telescope. We’ll de-mystify things and provide some concrete examples and recommendations for first-time telescope shoppers. We’ve timed this program early enough to let you get to good suppliers BEFORE they sell out of the best starter instruments!

Fri, October 24, November 7 | 8pm | Planetarium

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Apollo 12 45 Years On – 

The Essential Mission

With all the commemorations of Apollo 11’s 45th anniversary of the first human steps on the Moon, it’s easy to forget that the first lunar landing was off-target by several miles. Yet precision landing was paramount for scientists to target specific sites for visits by the Apollo program’s precious few flights. This demanding task was assigned to Apollo 12, commanded by “Pete” Conrad (perhaps the most colorful astronaut of his era). To make success or failure starkly obvious, the designated landing site was walking distance to the Surveyor 3 probe. No pressure, Pete! We’ll revisit this essential mission, launched into a rainstorm on November 14, 1969.

Fri, November 14, 21 | 8pm | Planetarium

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A Winter’s Solstice

As we head into the holiday season, we’ll discuss the history of ancient observances of the Winter Solstice, and how they have evolved and melded with our later Judeo-Christian holidays. People have long felt the need to face the coming of winter with festivities, and customs like the burning of the Yule Log and hanging of evergreens far predate the celebration of Christmas in December! We’ll also look at a
re-creation of the remarkable planetary conjunction in 2 BCE, a leading candidate for a scientific explanation of the Star of Bethlehem.

Fri, December 5, 12 | 8pm | Planetarium

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birth in Orion’s Sword

Deep in the sword of Orion, visible to the unaided eye, is a massive complex of dust and gas, which we now know to be an active star formation region. We’ll explore this Great Orion Nebula with stunning images from ground and space telescopes, and discuss recent discoveries that reveal the hundreds of potential planetary systems forming within! Note that we have an observing session on January 23 targeting Orion!

Fri, January 9, 16 | 8pm | Planetarium

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Special Observing Event:
Orion and the Winter Hexagon –
with a Special Guest!

With the Moon’s glare absent these weeks, we’ll explore the winter sky and the bounty of bright stars surrounding its signature constellation, Orion the Hunter. Embedded in the Sword of Orion is the mighty Orion Nebula, the closest large area of star formation to the solar system. We’ll begin in the planetarium, then head outside for viewing through telescopes with guidance from our planetarium director. And this year, we’ll have an additional bright target: Jupiter, with its cloud belts and bright moons, is moving through the Winter Hexagon. If clouds interfere, we’ll stay indoors and view spectacular images of the nebula, Jupiter, and surrounding skies. Dress warmly!

Fri, January 23 | 8pm | Planetarium

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Special Observing Event: A Gibbous Moon and Jovian Clouds and Moons!

We’ll follow up last week’s moonless observing night with a look at the 11-day-old gibbous Moon and at Jupiter and its satellite bodies. There will be good lighting on several big lunar craters, and all four of Jupiter’s Galilean moons will be visible. We’ll begin in the planetarium, then head outside for viewing through telescopes with guidance from our planetarium director. If clouds interfere, we’ll stay indoors and view spectacular images of the Moon and Jupiter and its moons. Dress warmly!

Fri, January 30 | 8pm | Planetarium​