Santa Monica College’s John Drescher Planetarium continues its Friday evening events in December 2022 with free, live virtual shows presented online at This month’s friendly presentations will take a look back at the accomplishments of Apollo 17 and explore the history and festivities surrounding the Winter Solstice.

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

The December 2022 shows are:

• Friday, December 2 and 9, at 8 p.m. (following The Night Sky Show at 7 p.m.): 50-Year Retrospective: The Flights of Apollo: “Apollo 17: The Last Hurrah” — Senior Lecturer Jim Mahon. In December 1972, the final Apollo lunar landing was made by Gene Cernan and Jack Schmitt as they brought LM Challenger down for three days of scientific and philosophical investigation in the Valley of Taurus-Littrow. Keenly aware they were the last people who would walk on the Moon for some time, and watched over by their crewmate Ron Evans overhead in Command Module America, Cernan and Schmitt tried their best to remind the world how remarkable Apollo was.

• Friday, December 16, at 8 p.m. (following The Night Sky Show at 7 p.m.): “A Winter’s Solstice” — Senior Lecturer Jim Mahon. Show examines the history of various ancient observances of the Winter Solstice and how they have evolved and melded with Judeo-Christian holidays, and takes a look at a remarkable planetary conjunction in 2 B.C., a leading candidate for a scientific explanation for the Star of Bethlehem. 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