Photo credit: www.smc.edu

Santa Monica College’s John Drescher Planetarium resumes its Friday evening events in June with free, live virtual shows presented online at smc.edu/planetarium. The shows include an update on plans to explore Mars, and how to use the stars to survive the zombie apocalypse.

The planetarium will also present a special Sunday Afternoon Matinee on June 21.

The evening shows are at 8 p.m. and are preceded by a streamlined, virtual digest of the popular Night Sky Show at 7 p.m., offering the latest news in astronomy and space exploration, and the chance to ask astronomy-related questions. The Sunday Afternoon Matinee is at 2 p.m. and combines abbreviated versions “The Night Sky Show” and the week’s featured show.

The planetarium is exploring a variety of ways to present its shows while the Santa Monica College (SMC) campuses are closed due to public health restrictions around the COVID-19 pandemic. Currently, the planetarium is using the Zoom platform. To attend the shows, the Zoom software version 5.0 or higher must be installed on the viewer’s computer. A free download is available at zoom.com.

The June shows — featuring planetarium co-lecturers Jim Mahon and Sarah Vincent — are:

• Friday, June 12: “Mars Exploration Update” — As the 2020 Mars launch window looms this July, the planet plays host to eight active spacecraft on its surface and in orbit, with more expected. Before the next arrivals go through their suspense-filled critical phases, lecturer Sarah Vincent will bring everyone up to date on the probes already at work and some of their key findings.

• Friday, June 19: “Stellar Navigation to Survive the Zombie Apocalypse!”  — “When the power grid fails, society crumbles, and you are running for your life, what do you do? Look to the stars!” Lecturer Sarah Vincent will explain how to figure out a location on a starry night just by using the clues above.

• Sunday, June 21: “Stellar Navigation to Survive the Zombie Apocalypse!” — Matinee event combines the streamlined Night Sky Show with lecturer Jim Mahon and a shorter version of the week’s feature show: “When the power grid fails, society crumbles, and you are running for your life, what do you do? Look to the stars!” Lecturer Sarah Vincent will explain how to figure out a location on a starry night just by using the clues above.

More information is available online at smc.edu/planetarium or by calling

(310) 434-3005. Shows subject to change or cancellation without notice.

Santa Monica College is a California Community College accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).

Submitted by Grace Smith, SMC Public Information Officer

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