SANTA MONICA—The Santa Monica College’s John Drescher Planetarium is hosting free, live, online virtual Night Sky shows starting June 12. The shows premiere every Friday at 7 p.m., followed by guest lectures at 8 p.m.
Speaking to Canyon News about the online events, planetarium lecturer James Mahon said, “This was a matter of necessity being the mother of invention.” Mahon credited Associate Dean Linda Sullivan’s continued support as the “linchpin” for the programs. As all the classes went online due to the ongoing pandemic, the planetarium decided to move their on-site programs online too.
This week’s show “The Meteors of Summer: The Perseid Showers of August 2020,” focuses on the annual meteor showers associated with the comet called Swift-Tuttle. They’re called Perseid showers because they appear to hail from the Perseus constellation. Mahon will discuss the nature of these “falling stars,” and give tips for best viewing spots for these showers, which will peak on August 12.
Two other shows are set to take place in the coming summer weeks: “50-Year Retrospective: The Flights of Apollo – After Apollo 13 – What Changed?” and “NASA Human Spaceflight Update.” More information regarding the events can be found here.
The online shows are different as the immersive dome theater cannot be used. The planetarium’s school programs have been moved online as well. “We want to at least provide a subset of the [planetarium’s] content to local schools as we move forward into the academic year,” said Mahon.