Pico Blvd.

This July, the Santa Monica College John Drescher Planetarium presents beautiful images of some of the finest deep sky objects, the latest news on NASA’s Cassini mission and its planned dive into the cloud tops of Saturn, as well as strategies for seeing the upcoming solar eclipse. Organizers said the feature shows and the evening telescope viewing session – as well as their 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 “tour” of the constellations, and the chance to ask astronomy-related questions.

There are three July planetarium events. On July 7, organizers said there will be the “Summer Deep Sky Wonders,” which displays images of the summer sky, showing star birth and death, the raw material of planetary formation, and literally countless distant galaxies. On August 21, one can view the total eclipse of the Sun and find out about the path of totality, possible strategies for seeing the eclipse, and what one needs to know for safe eclipse viewing. For those remaining in the LA area, the SMC John Drescher Planetarium should provide a timeline of the eclipse as it will appear locally.

There is also the “Cassini’s Grand Finale at Saturn” on July 28. As NASA’s Cassini mission to Saturn, orbiting the ringed planet since 2004, moves into its final month and a destructive dive into the cloud tops of Saturn on September 15, the planetarium will review the latest images of Saturn – from a risky vantage point between the rings and the planet – and Cassini’s many discoveries. This show will also be presented on August 4.

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 www.smc.edu/eventsinfo or www.smc.edu/planetarium. All shows subject to change or cancellation without notice.

– Submitted by Grace Smith, SMC Public Information Officer