The Santa Monica College John Drescher Planetarium invites you to enjoy an evening telescope-observing session with a focus on the crescent Moon and peeks at Venus and Jupiter. The planetarium’s April schedule also offers two opportunities to find out about Charles Messier and his remarkable catalog of “annoying” objects in the night sky, as well as a firsthand report of our planetarium director’s “Messier Marathon” attempt. The telescope viewing session and the two feature shows — as well as their popular Night Sky Show — will be held on Friday evenings.

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 April planetarium events are:

Charles Messier and the Faint Fuzzies on April 3 and 10. Find out about French 18th-century comet hunter Messier’s list of “nuisance” objects, and why it became a remarkable catalog of the northern sky’s brightest galaxies, star clusters, and nebulae. Some amateur astronomers attempt dusk-to-dawn “Messier Marathons” to view all 110 of Messier’s objects in a single night (possible only in March and April). The planetarium director will report on his efforts.

Special Observing Event: Crescent Moon, Venus, and Jupiter on April 24. With guidance from their experienced astronomy lecturer, take a look through a variety of telescopes at brilliant Venus, the waxing crescent Moon with dramatic shadowing along the terminator, and Jupiter’s equatorial cloud belts and four largest moons.

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 show or telescope-viewing session.

Call (310) 434-3005 or see www.smc.edu/eventsinfo or www.smc.edu/planetarium for information. All shows are subject to change or cancellation without notice.

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