SMC's Drescher Planetarium Presents Free, Live Virtual Shows on Fridays in Late Sept. and Oct

. Featured Topics: Jupiter, The Vera C. Rubin Observatory, DIY Space Images, Lunar Lander Peregrine 1, and Rocketry History


September 21, 2023

Santa Monica College's John Drescher Planetarium continues its Friday evening events in late Sept. and Oct. 2023 with free, live virtual shows presented online at This month's friendly presentations will continue the Solar System Exploration Survey with a look at Jupiter (rescheduled from Sept. 15), provide an update on the Vera C. Rubin Observatory, explain how to find and use NASA images to make space art, discuss the status of the Peregrine 1 lunar lander, and present the first of a two-part short history of rocketry.

The Friday evening shows are at 8 p.m. and 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. The shows include the chance to chat with the planetarium lecturers and ask questions.

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

The late Sept, and Oct. 2023 shows are:

• Friday, Sept. 29, at 8 p.m. (following The Night Sky Show at 7 p.m.): "Solar System Exploration Survey: Part 6: Jupiter" - Senior Lecturer Jim Mahon. Tonight's show (rescheduled from Sept. 15) continues Drescher Planetarium's series on solar system exploration missions with a look at Jupiter, starting all the way back with Galileo's first fuzzy views of the major moons of the planet in 1610. Free. Zoom at

• Friday, Oct. 6, at 8 p.m. (following The Night Sky Show at 7 p.m.): "The Vera C. Rubin Observatory" - Senior Lecturer Jim Mahon. Tonight's show investigates the intricacies of the Vera C. Rubin Observatory, an 8-meter-class survey telescope and an ingenious machine for capturing a motion picture of our universe. The observatory is moving into its early commissioning phase. When complete, the telescope will perform daily all-sky surveys at extremely high resolution, producing over 20 terabytes of data each night, and making data management as challenging as optical design and execution. Free. Zoom at

• Friday, Oct. 13, at 8 p.m. (following The Night Sky Show at 7 p.m.): "DIY Space Image Processing" - Lecturer Sarah Vincent. NASA has long invited the public to download and use NASA images to make space art. Many Hubble, Juno, and JWST image files - most of them free - are available for the public to use. Tonight's show offers a quick introduction to the world of space image processing. Free. Zoom at

• Friday, Oct. 20, at 8 p.m. (following The Night Sky Show at 7 p.m.): "Peregrine: A New Lunar Lander from a New Program on a New Booster" - Senior Lecturer Jim Mahon. Tonight's show will discuss the Astrobotic Peregrine 1, the first lunar lander being flown under NASA's Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) program. Now scheduled to launch to the lunar surface in late 2023 on the inaugural flight of the new Vulcan booster, Peregrine is designed to prepare for human return to the Moon under NASA's Artemis program to explore Earth's nearest neighbor. Free. Zoom at

• Friday, Oct. 27, at 8 p.m. (following The Night Sky Show at 7 p.m.): "A Short History of Rocketry, Part 1" - Senior Lecturer Jim Mahon. Despite many alternative concepts, chemical rockets are still how humans get payloads (including themselves) into space. Tonight's show will present a capsule history of the diverse forms the rocket has taken and the visionaries who foresaw its importance. Free. Zoom at

More information is available online at or by calling

310-434-3005. All shows subject to change or cancellation without notice.

Santa Monica College is a California Community College accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).


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