Santa Monica College’s John Drescher Planetarium continues its Friday evening events in winter 2022 with free, live virtual shows presented online at smc.edu/planetarium. The season’s shows will explore Venus, take a look at lunar rovers and their development, and explain how planets beyond our solar system are discovered. 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.

Planetarium lecturers are currently using the Zoom platform to present shows while the actual on-campus planetarium remains closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. To attend the shows, the Zoom software must be installed on the viewer’s computer. A free download is available at zoom.com.

The winter 2022 shows are:

• Friday, January 7 and 21, at 8 p.m. (following The Night Sky Show at 7 p.m.): “Venus, We’ve Missed You!” — Associate Lecturer Sarah Vincent. Venus may be named for the Roman goddess of beauty, but up close, the planet is an inhospitable world scorched by 800-degree heat and sulfuric acid rain. Show will cover three upcoming missions to explore the second planet from the Sun. Free. Zoom at smc.edu/planetarium.

• Friday, January 14 and 28, at 8 p.m. (following The Night Sky Show at 7 p.m.): “Roving Luna – The First Extraterrestrial Vehicles” — Senior Lecturer Jim Mahon. While the later Apollo missions brought along an electric rover for the astronauts, the Apollo rovers were not the first on the Moon. The early history of lunar vehicle design includes some truly bizarre-looking concepts. Show will take a look at the seldom-seen ancestors of today’s extraterrestrial rovers and some of the never-built design concepts, as well as follow the development of the first two rovers actually used on the Moon. Free. Zoom at smc.edu/planetarium.

• Friday, February 4, at 8 p.m. (following The Night Sky Show at 7 p.m.): “Exoplanets and How We Find Them” — Associate Lecturer Sarah Vincent. There are more than 4,400 currently known planets around other stars, and the list keeps growing…but how? Show will discuss the missions and methods used to discover planets beyond the solar system. Free. Zoom at smc.edu/planetarium.

More information is available online at smc.edu/planetarium 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.