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SMC Planetarium Looks at Lunar Landings and Solar Eclipses


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Santa Monica College
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Santa Monica, CA 90405
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By Lookout Staff

February 23, 2024 -- Space telescopes, lunar landings and solar eclipses are the focus of presentations at the Santa Monica College (SMC) planetarium (SMC) next month.

John Drescher Planetarium also will continue its “Solar System Exploration Survey" with a look at its "lonely wanderer" Neptune, event organizers said.

The free, live virtual shows take place Fridays at 8 p.m. and are preceded by a streamlined, virtual digest of the popular Night Sky Show at 7 p.m. that offers the latest news in astronomy and space exploration.

Next month's lineup kicks off March 8 with “The Great Observatories,” a presentation by lecturer Sarah Vincent that looks at "the pioneering instruments that gave us the first broad-spectrum look at space."

Prominent among them is the Hubble Space Telescope (HST), the largest and most versatile of the four space-based telescopes dubbed “The Great Observatories.”

Launched in 1990, the Hubble Telescope remains in orbit outside Earth's atmosphere sending extremely high resolution images that offer a deep view into space.

The series continues March 15, when Vincent presents “Moon Landings: So Far,” an exploration of a feet accomplished by only five countries, with Japan joining the elite group last month.

The U.S. was the first to land on the moon with its Apollo missions that carried the only humans to touch down on the lunar surface. This week, 52 years after its last visit in 1972, the U.S. lunar lander made it back.

The only other countries that have landed safely on the lunar surface are China, India and the former Soviet Union.

On March 22, Vincent continues exploring the planets with a look at Neptune, the most distant of the ice giants and a "cold blue world" visited only once by a human craft.

The series concludes Friday, March 29, with “Physics of Eclipses and Moon Phases” presented by Vincent to gear up for the April 8 solar eclipse.

The show takes "a closer look at Earth’s largest natural satellite and marvel at the fact that Earth is the only planet in the solar system that experiences total solar eclipses."

Planetarium lecturers are currently using the Zoom platform to present shows while SMC’s new planetarium and observatory are under construction.

To attend the virtual shows, the Zoom software must be installed on the viewer’s computer. A free download is available at

"The shows include the chance to chat with the planetarium lecturers and ask questions related to astronomy and space exploration," planetarium officials said.

More information is available online at or by calling 310-434-3005. Shows are subject to change or cancellation without notice.

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