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Santa Monica College Planetarium Showcases Meteors of Summer

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Convention and Visitors Bureau Santa Monica

By Lookout Staff

August 4, 2015 -- August’s Perseid Meteor Shower is expected to be better than usual this year and the Santa Monica College John Drescher Planetarium will prepare you to make the most of the popular annual celestial event.

“The Meteors of Summer” on Friday, August 7, will provide information and tips on the best way to watch the meteor shower, which will “present its annual spectacular streaks of light crossing the skies on August 12 and 13, as our planet moves through dust streams from comet Swift-Tuttle,” planetarium officials said.

The dramatic display is triggered by leftover pieces of the comet that burn up as they pass through the earth's atmosphere. The falling debris causes the lights that streak across the entire sky, reaching as many as 60 per hour.

The Perseid comet, which takes 133 years to orbit the sun, is named 109P/Swift-Tuttle, after the two men who discovered it in 1862, Lewis Swift and Horace Tuttle, although the shower is mentioned in Chinese annals as early as 36 A.D..

Measuring 16 miles across, the comet is thought to be twice the size of the asteroid blamed for the extinction of the dinosaurs.

The presentation at 8 p.m. will be preceded by “The Night Sky Show” at 7 p.m., “offering the latest news in astronomy and space exploration, a family-friendly “tour” of the constellations, and the chance to ask astronomy-related questions,” planetarium officials said.

There also will be telescope viewing of the Moon and Saturn.

The John Drescher Planetarium, which features a Digistar projection system, is located near the elevators 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.

For more information, call (310) 434-3005 or visit www.smc.edu/eventsinfo or www.smc.edu/planetarium. All shows are subject to change or cancellation without notice.


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