Friday Night Public Shows
NOTE: First program (The Night Sky) begins at
All programs subject to change in the event of emergency
Adult, per show = $6.00; "double feature" (both & shows) = $11.00
Children (12 years or under) & Seniors (60 years or older) = $5.00 per show; "double feature" = $9.00
Note: We LOVE small children - but children under 6 years normally do not make it through a complete indoor planetarium program without exceeding their attention spans. For this reason, we recommend that children of this age be brought ONLY to the occasional 8:00 pm "Special Observing" events, which are more hands-on since we go outside to observe in telescopes. If you bring very young children to other programs, they will be admitted free of charge - because 95% of the time I am forced to ask the parents to take them out of the planetarium when they begin to get restless and talkative. Please consider this before bringing very young children to our regular shows. We do happily arrange for preschool age group programs under the rules of our school shows. When the entire group is of this age, the content is adjusted, and the other audience members are not expecting a quiet environment!
Tickets may be purchased at the door on the evening of the show 1/2 hour prior to showtime, or in person at the SMC Theatre Arts Box Office (Theatre Arts Complex, SMC Main Campus; 8 a.m. to 12 noon Mon-Wed). Shows (except selected guest lectures) are held in the John Drescher Planetarium, located on SMC’s Main Campus in Drescher Hall Room 223. Admission to a single show or lecture is $6 ($5 seniors age 60+ and children age 12 and under). For the double-bill price of $11 ($9 seniors and children), you can enjoy both the Night Sky Show and the evening’s scheduled Feature Show or Guest Lecture.
For information, visit our website (www.smc.edu/planetarium) or call (310) 434‑3005.
All shows are in the Planetarium, room 223 on the 2nd floor of Drescher Hall, unless otherwise indicated.
Parking is FREE all across campus, even in staff parking areas, on Friday nights while shows are being given.
For schedule information contact the Events Office at: (310) 434-3005 or email: email@example.com.
Drescher Planetarium Friday Night Public Shows - Spring/Summer 2013
At : The Night Sky Show
Presented on all dates listed below
This 50 minute presentation is an interactive weekly update on the night sky, with the latest news in space exploration and astronomy and a chance to ask any question about astronomy. We use our Digistar II planetarium projector to recreate the night sky with all of its celestial wonders.
At – Feature Shows:
Note that all 8:00 PM feature programs are preceded by the 7:00 PM “Night Sky” program described above.
Special Observing Event: A Gibbous Moon
Brilliant and riding nearly 70 degrees up in the south this evening will be our planet’s natural satellite, displaying prominent features like Mare Imbrium and the Copernicus to advantage. We will observe the Moon through a selection of telescopes after a quick discussion of what to look for in the planetarium. If clouds spoil our fun we’ll view images of lovely Luna in the planetarium. Prepare to be dazzled - DRESS WARMLY! March 22nd
Charles Messier and the Faint Fuzzies
18th century French comet hunter Charles Messier would probably be an obscure figure to modern astronomers had he not compiled a list of things he was not looking for. In his small refractor telescopes there were lots of fuzzy comet-like objects that did not move against the star background as real comets do. His nuisance list of these non-moving, faint, fuzzy objects became his chief historical claim to fame, for these are a fine list of the brightest galaxies, star clusters, and nebulae in the northern sky. Some amateur astronomers even try “Messier Marathons” an attempt to view all 110 objects in the Messier catalog in a single dusk-to-dawn period. This is possible only in March and April. We will view images of many of these objects and discuss them and some things we have learned about them in more detail.
How Much Would YOU Pay?
As Americans deal with the spring ritual of filing tax returns, we often think about the enormous sums of money our government spends on things we don’t especially like. But how much of the federal budget do we really spend on things like basic scientific research and big agencies like NASA? We’ll break it down from the perspective of a space science and exploration junkie, and throw in some thoughts from kindred spirits, including the man who inspired our program title…
April 19th and 26th
Skylab: America’s First Space Station
Few people now recall that the last use of NASA’s Saturn V moon booster was NOT on a lunar trip. The thirteenth and final time Von Braun’s masterpiece rumbled away from Kennedy Space Center, it was carrying the completely-outfitted Skylab workshop, America’s first space station. Almost immediately the workshop required inspired improvisation by the first crew to save the mission and enable occupation by two later crews of three astronauts. We’ll take a detailed look at this almost-forgotten but pivotal program 40 years after that nail-biting launch in May of 1973. May 10th
Special Observing Event: A First Quarter Moon and Saturn’s Rings
The evening sky on May 17th will offer a nice view of a seven day old first quarter moon in the southwest and Saturn rising high enough to view by 8:30 in the southeast. We will do some detailed observing of these two celestial gems in a variety of telescopes after a quick observer’s primer in the planetarium. If clouds interfere, we’ll view high-resolution images in the planetarium. DRESS WARMLY! May 17th
Summer Star Party Planner
Gatherings of amateur astronomers to observe the evening sky are called “star parties”, and summertime presents good opportunities for beginners to attend these events without having to deal with winter’s cold and travel hazards. From local urban and suburban locations to high, dark mountains and deserts, we’ll clue you in on where and when to go and what to bring to be a welcome star party visitor and participant. You will even have a chance to sign up for information about attending a star party this summer hosted by your humble lecturer. May 24th and 31st
No programs June 7th or 14th
Summer Deep Sky Wonders
The summer sky offers numerous gems to the observer, many of them far beyond our solar system – the realm of “Deep Sky Objects”, or DSOs. The wonders of the summer sky show us star birth and death, the raw material of planetary formation, mature stars in tight spheres of a million or more and younger stars in looser associations, and literally countless distant galaxies, each with billions of suns. We’ll look at beautiful images of some of the finest deep sky objects and discuss what they seem to be telling us about our universe. Tips for where to go to view these beauties for your self will round out the program. June 21st and 28th
No programs July 5th – Happy Independence Day weekend!
Special Observing Event: Saturn and a crescent Moon
Shortly after 8:00 PM on July 12th, a slender crescent moon and Venus will linger in the western sky. As the long twilight of summer deepens, a creamy-colored “star” halfway up in the south will become visible – the beautiful ringed planet Saturn, seen from almost 900 million miles away. After a quick briefing in the planetarium, we’ll head outside to enjoy these and other sights in several telescopes. If clouds interfere, we will view spectacular images of Saturn from the comfort of out planetarium seats. Dress warmly! July 12th
The Meteors of Summer: The Perseid Shower of August 2013
Peaking on August 12th, this year’s Perseid meteor shower will enjoy a sky relatively free of bright moonlight, so a trip away from city lights should be a rewarding one for those willing to stay up after midnight for the peak of activity. We’ll discuss the nature of these “falling stars” and provide tips for getting the best views. (Hint: Get away from the glare of city lights, bring a comfy lounge chair and a warm beverage, and some good friends and/or family!) July 19th and 26th
The James Webb Space Telescope: NASA’s Next Big Thing
After years of delays and cost overruns, NASA’s scientific successor to the Hubble Space Telescope is beginning to come together in laboratories and manufacturing facilities around the world. With a price tag now projected to approach 9 billion dollars, JWST has profoundly impacted the space science budget process for nearly a decade, but survived every attempt to end the program. We will take a close look at this program’s difficult gestation and the tradeoffs needed to keep it moving towards a hoped-for 2018 launch. August 2nd and 23rd
No Programs August 9th or 16th
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