Santa Monica College’s John Drescher Planetarium resumes its Friday evening events in October 2022 with free, live virtual shows presented online at smc.edu/planetarium. This month’s friendly presentations will take a look at the satellites looking at Earth, the Sun and its future, the careers of the women whose names grace astronomy equipment, and the Peregrine lunar lander.
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 October 2022 shows are:
• Friday, October 7, at 8 p.m. (following The Night Sky Show at 7 p.m.): Here’s Looking at You, Earth — Associate Lecturer Sarah Vincent. NASA operates a fleet of satellites that provide crucial data for understanding Earth’s changing climate. Tonight’s show takes a look at several of those Earth-looking satellites, and explains what their purpose is. Free. Zoom at smc.edu/planetarium.
• Friday, October 14, at 8 p.m. (following The Night Sky Show at 7 p.m.): Our Star Ramps Toward Maximum — Senior Lecturer Jim Mahon. As the Sun increases activity toward Solar maximum — estimated to occur in a range from late 2024 to 2026 — it is under unprecedented scrutiny by humanity. Tonight’s show will review results of ground and space-based solar astronomy, and survey what science theorizes those results might portend for our future. Note: This program will be repeated on January 13. Free. Zoom at smc.edu/planetarium.
• Friday, October 21, at 8 p.m. (following The Night Sky Show at 7 p.m.): What’s in a Name? — Associate Lecturer Sarah Vincent. Vera Rubin, Nancy Grace Roman, Rosalind Franklin: a ground-based telescope, a space telescope, a Mars rover.… Tonight’s show takes a look at the careers of the first women to be honored with astronomy hardware eponyms. Free. Zoom at smc.edu/planetarium.
• Friday, October 28, at 8 p.m. (following The Night Sky Show at 7 p.m.): Peregrine: A New Lunar Lander from a New Program on a New Booster — Senior Lecturer Jim Mahon and Associate Lecturer Sarah Vincent. Tonight’s show will focus on Astrobotics Peregrine 1, the first lunar lander being flown under NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) program. With plans for launch to the lunar surface by the end of this year on the inaugural flight of the new Vulcan booster, Peregrine is designed to prepare for human return to the Moon under NASA’s Artemis program to explore our nearest neighbor. 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.
Submitted by Grace Smith