The Santa Monica College John Drescher Planetarium invites residents to catch up on the news about NASA’s Dawn spacecraft, find out about star parties, enjoy a talk by astronomer Shelley R. Bonus on space tourism, and check out the Moon’s Alpine Valley, Sea of Rains, and Bay of Rainbows through telescopes. The two feature shows, the guest lecture, and the evening telescope viewing session — as well as our 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 May planetarium events are:

Summer Star Party Planner on May 8. In a practical guide to “star parties” (gatherings of amateur astronomers to observe the evening sky), we’ll clue you in on when to go, where to go – from local urban and suburban locations to high mountains and deserts – and what to bring to be a welcome star party visitor and participant.

Guest Lecture: Shelley R. Bonus: “Are You Ready To Be a Space Tourist?” on May 15. Astronomy historian, performer, and writer Shelley Bonus — telescope operator at the historic Mt. Wilson Observatory 60-inch telescope — will introduce you to the Space Tourism Industry and prepare you to book your trip.

Special Observing Event: Gibbous Moon – The Alpine Valley, Sea of Rains, and Bay of Rainbows on May 29. With guidance from our planetarium director, take a look through a variety of telescopes at the Moon’s Alpine Valley (a set of parallel fault lines that have subsided below the lunar Alps), and an impact event that took a bite out of the rim of Imbrium, forming Sinus Iridum, the Bay of Rainbows.

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, guest lecture, or telescope-viewing session.

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

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