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Explore the Mysteries of Solstices and Equinoxes at the Santa Monica College Planetarium
1900 Pico Boulevard
Santa Monica, CA 90405
By Lookout Staff
August 23, 2019 -- Equinoxes and solstices, like the Moon, have exerted a mysterious power over humans throughout recorded history.
Next month, the Santa Monica College John Drescher Planetarium will explore all three during a series of shows that explain the celestial phenomena and give participants a close-up look at the autumn sky.
The shows kick off September 6 with “First-Quarter Moon, Jupiter, and Saturn,” a special observing event that offers a look through various telescopes at the Moon.
Viewers can view its craters, “seas,” and mountains, before the telescope is trained at Jupiter’s cloud bands and major moons, and the "lovely, unreal-looking rings of Saturn."
If clouds intervene, the program will stay in the planetarium with high-resolution images.
On September 13, participants will learn how you don't need a telescope to enjoy the highlights of the autumn sky from the backyard.
“Binocular Highlights of the Autumn Sky” shows, among other things, how to "get oriented in the skies of Southern California" and "what the numbers printed on binoculars mean."
If weather permits, the program will move outdoors. Guests are invited to bring their binoculars.
On September 20, three days before this year's fall equinox, the planetarium will present “TILT! Equinoxes and Solstices Explained.”
"The Digistar planetarium projector and other imagery will be used to try to remedy this disconnect from the natural world."
One of the myths the show will explore is that eggs can be balanced on their ends during the equinox, the day the Sun shines directly on the equator making the length of day and night nearly equal.
The show on September 27 looks into the Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle, part of NASA's Constellation Program to send human explorers back to the Moon.
Designed originally to be a general-purpose successor to the Space Shuttle, Orion has "evolved through various design incarnations to emerge as a dedicated deep space vehicle for a crew of four."
A possible first flight can take plavce in late 2020 or soon after.
The feature shows and a telescope viewing session take place at 8 p.m. and are preceded at 7 p.m. by “The Night Sky Show,” which offers "the latest news in astronomy and space exploration, a family-friendly 'tour' of the constellations and answers to astronomy-related questions.
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 older and children age 12 and under) for a single show or telescope-viewing session.
For more information call (310) 434-3005 or visit smc.edu/planetarium. All shows are subject to change or cancellation without notice.
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