Santa Monica College’s John Drescher Planetarium continues its Friday evening events in September 2021 with free, live virtual shows presented online at The friendly presentations will highlight how to use binoculars to explore the night sky, and explain what solstices and equinoxes are.

The Friday 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. The shows include the chance to chat with the planetarium lecturers and ask questions related to astronomy and space exploration.

The planetarium is currently using the Zoom platform to present its shows while the Santa Monica College (SMC) campuses are closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 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

The September 2021 shows are:

• Friday, September 10 & 24, at 8 p.m. (following The Night Sky Show at 7 p.m.): “Binocular Highlights of the Autumn Sky” — Senior Lecturer Jim Mahon. Show will explain how to use binoculars to enjoy the highlights of the autumn sky at a convenient hour, help guests get oriented in the skies of a Southern California, demystify what the numbers printed on binoculars mean, and call attention to some interesting targets to look at and help friends and neighbors aim at with their own binoculars. If weather permits, guests will be ready to stroll outside for a little binocular observing after the program. Free. Zoom at

• Friday, September 17, at 8 p.m. (following The Night Sky Show at 7 p.m.): “TILT! Equinoxes and Solstices Explained” — Assistant Lecturer Sarah Vincent. With the Autumnal Equinox approaching on September 20, most city dwellers are only vaguely aware of what the equinoxes and solstices actually are. The show will try to remedy this disconnect from the natural world, as well as dispel some myths, like the egg-standing-on-end story. Free. Zoom at

More information is available online at or by calling

310-434-3005. All 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