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SMC’s Drescher Planetarium Unveils May Programming

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By Lookout Staff

April 27, 2015 -- Stargazers can view some of the moon’s landscapes and catch up on the latest in space exploration next month at Santa Monica College’s (SMC) John Drescher Planetarium, college officials announced last week.

Planetarium visitors also can enjoy a talk by astronomer Shelley R. Bonus on space tourism and find out how to take part in “star parties,” officials said.

Each event kicks off at 8 p.m. after a 7 p.m. showing of “The Night Sky Show,” which offers “the latest news in astronomy and space exploration, a family-friendly ‘tour’ of the constellations, and the chance to ask astronomy-related questions,” SMC officials said.

The month-long series starts May 1 with “Dawn at Ceres: First Looks!” that provides a recap, as well as the latest news from NASA, on Dawn’s decade-long voyage to enter orbit and observe dwarf planet Ceres, the largest object in the main asteroid belt.

On May 8, the planetarium offers a practical guide to gatherings or “star parties” held by amateur astronomers to observe the evening sky. Find out when and where to go – from local urban sites to the high mountains and deserts – and what to bring.

The series continues May 15 with the guest lecture “Are You Ready To Be a Space Tourist?” by Bonus, an astronomy historian, performer, and writer. Bonus – who operates the historic Mt. Wilson Observatory 60-inch telescope – will take care of everything but book your trip, officials said. 

The May series concludes on May 29 with a special observing event Gibbous Moon – The Alpine Valley, Sea of Rains, and Bay of Rainbows.

Guided by the planetarium’s director, participants will take a look through a variety of telescopes at the Moon’s Alpine Valley, “a set of parallel fault lines that have subsided below the lunar Alps, and an impact event that took a bite out of the rim of Imbrium, forming Sinus Iridum, the Bay of Rainbows,” officials said.

The John Drescher Planetarium, which features a Digistar projection system, is located on the second floor of Drescher Hall, 1900 Pico Boulevard..

Tickets are available at the door and cost $11 ($9 seniors and children) for the evening’s scheduled “double bill," or $6 ($5 seniors age 60+ and children age 12 and under) for a single show, guest lecture, or telescope-viewing session, officials said.

For more information, call (310) 434-3005 or visit or All shows are subject to change or cancellation without notice.

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