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The Birth of a Star and Flights to the Moon at SMC Planetarium
By Lookout Staff
January 4, 2021 -- Santa Monica College’s (SMC) John Drescher Planetarium kicks of the year with a glimpse of a starbirth and a look back at Apollo.
On Friday, SMC senior lecturer Jim Mahon presents “Starbirth in Orion’s Sword,” a show that explores a massive complex of dust and gas deep in the sword of Orion.
The active star formation region includes hundreds of recently discovered potential planetary systems forming within the Great Orion Nebula.
On Friday, January 15, Mahon and associate lecturer Sarah Vincent preview the three spacecraft scheduled to arrive on Mars next month.
“The February 2021 Mars Arrivals Preview” reviews what to expect from an orbiter from China bearing a lander for later release, an orbiter from the United Arab Emirates and NASA’s Perseverance Rover.
The show offers "updates on critical news and mission timelines," event organizers said.
On Friday, January 22, the planetarium continues its 50-year retrospective on the flights of Apollo with a look at the impact of Apollo 13.
"After the return from its nearly fatal mission, NASA needed solutions put in place to give future missions greater safety margins," according to the show's promotion.
"This, plus new budget constraints, had far-reaching effects on the number and types of missions NASA was ultimately able to fly as Apollo came to an end in late 1972."
The series continues the following Friday, January 29, with “Back in the Saddle -- Apollo 14 + 50 Years,” which will be repeated on February 5.
The show explores how "after corrections and safety modifications," Apollo 14 would become the third mission to land on the Moon, and the first to visit the Frau Mauro highlands during a two-day stay.
The mission was commanded by the first American astronaut to fly, Alan B. Shepard, who was "back on active status after 8 years in medical purgatory," according to the show's promotion.
Currently, the planetarium is using the Zoom platform. To attend the shows, the Zoom software version 5.0 or higher must be installed on the viewer’s computer. A free download is available at zoom.com.
The Friday evening shows are preceded by a streamlined, virtual digest of the popular Night Sky Show at 7 p.m., offering the latest news in astronomy and space exploration and the chance to ask astronomy-related questions.
More information is available online at smc.edu/planetarium or by calling 310-434-3005. Shows are subject to change or cancellation without notice.
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