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SMC Planetarium Focuses on Jupiter, Eclipses, Equinoxes and Rocketry
By Lookout Staff
August 23, 2023 -- The Santa Monica College (SMC) planetarium next month will take a look at Jupiter, explain equinoxes and discuss upcoming solar eclipses.
The John Drescher Planetarium will also present the first part of a short history of rocketry during the free virtual shows on Fridays at 8 p.m., event organizers said.
The shows 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. The shows include the chance to chat with the planetarium lecturers and ask questions.
Next month's lineup kicks off September 8 with “The Coming North American Solar Eclipses of October 2023 and April 2024,” presented by Senior Lecturer Jim Mahon.
The show comes five weeks before the October 14, 2023, annular eclipse and 30 weeks before the April 8, 2024, total eclipse and will "provide tips and recommendations to experience them safely."
"Both eclipses will be visible to large numbers of people in the U.S., but neither one can be viewed in its full glory from Southern California," organizers said.
"However, the centerline for either eclipse is a one-to-three-day drive from the Los Angeles area, and October’s annular eclipse can be a useful primer for April’s Main Event."
On September 15 Mahon will present “Solar System Exploration Survey: Part 6: Jupiter,” which starts with Galileo’s first fuzzy views of the major moons of the planet in 1610.
The following week, on September 22, Lecturer Sarah Vincent will present “Equinox Program,” which offers "a balanced look at the nature of equinoxes, why they occur, and their human cultural significance."
Next month's lineup concludes on September 29, with “A Short History of Rocketry, Part 1,” presented by Senior Lecturer Jim Mahon.
"Despite many alternative concepts, chemical rockets are still how humans get payloads (including themselves) into space," organizers said.
The show "will present a capsule history of the diverse forms the rocket has taken and the visionaries who foresaw its importance."
Planetarium lecturers are currently using the Zoom platform to present shows while the actual on-campus planetarium remains closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
To attend the shows, the Zoom software must be installed on the viewer’s computer. A free download is available at zoom.com.
"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 smc.edu/planetarium or by calling 310-434-3005. Shows are subject to change or cancellation without notice.
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