SMC's Drescher Planetarium Features Commercial Space Flight, Solstices, and Guest Lectures this March

Double Bill with Night Sky Show Only $11



February 15, 2018

SANTA MONICA, CA—The Santa Monica College John Drescher Planetarium will hold five feature shows – as well as the popular Night Sky Show – on Friday evenings in March. Shows include two featuring guest lecturer Shelley Bonus.

The evening events are at 8 p.m. and are preceded by “The Night Sky Show” at 7 p.m., offering the latest news in astronomy and space exploration, a family-friendly “tour” of the constellations, and the chance to ask astronomy-related questions.

The March shows are:

  • “Commercial Space Update” on March 2 and 9. Elon Musk’s SpaceX, Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin, and Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic are just some of the commercial ventures hoping to be part of the first wave of private human spaceflight, as well as provide satellite launch services at lower cost than older players in the industry. With NASA human spaceflight pivoting to a lunar return prior to heading for Mars, speculation is that commercial companies will already operating on or around the Moon by the time NASA gets there with crewed Orion spacecraft.

  • Guest Lecture: Shelley Bonus: “Neutron Stars, Colliding Black Holes, and Gravitational Waves” on March 16. Guest lecturer Shelley Bonus will review the cutting-edge discoveries in the new field of gravitational wave astronomy, a field made possible by the first detection of gravity waves in 2015 by the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO), which provides information about the universe not obtainable by any previous type of scientific tool.

  • “TILT! Equinoxes and Solstices Explained” on March 23. Most city dwellers are only vaguely aware of what the equinoxes and solstices actually are. The Digistar planetarium projector and other imagery will be used to try to remedy this disconnect from the natural world – and dispel some myths, like that egg story…

  • Guest Lecture: Shelley Bonus: “What’s Your Zodiac Sign and Why? Astronomy/Astrology Myths and Facts” on March 30. Guest lecturer Shelley Bonus will offer her lively take on the relationship between astronomy and astrology, two once-synonymous, but now-sundered ways of looking at the sky.

The John Drescher Planetarium, which features a Digistar projection system, is located near the elevators on the second floor of Drescher Hall (1900 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica). Tickets are available at the door and cost $11 ($9 seniors and children) for the evening’s scheduled “double bill,” or $6 ($5 seniors age 60+ and children age 12 and under) for a single Night Sky or feature show or telescope-viewing session.

For information, please call (310) 434-3005 or see or All shows subject to change or cancellation without notice.

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