In February, the Santa Monica College John Drescher Planetarium will present a feature show and a special observing event.
On Feb. 17, the Planetarium presents “Special Observing Event: Orion and the Winter Hexagon,” which explores the winter sky and the bounty of bright stars surrounding its signature constellation Orion the Hunter. Embedded in the Sword of Orion is the mighty Orion Nebula, the closest large area of star formation to the solar system. The show begins in the Planetarium and then moves outside for telescope viewing unless weather interferes.
On Feb. 24, the feature show is “2012: Space Exploration Preview,” which takes a look at the numerous exciting space missions slated to unfold this year, including the landing of the most capable surface science package ever on the Red Planet and the first flights of two American-built robotic cargo ships to the International Space Station. Other missions this year include the Dawn spacecraft finishing its mission at asteroid Vesta on its way to the largest asteroid of all, Ceres; the completion of MESSENGER’s primary science mission at Mercury; the Juno voyage to Jupiter; and the continued long, lonely trek of New Horizons to Pluto.
The feature shows are at 8 p.m. and are preceded by “The Night Sky Show” at 7 p.m., which re-creates the night sky and provides the latest information on space exploration.
The John Drescher Planetarium, which features the Digistar projection system, is located on the second floor of Drescher Hall, 1900 Pico Blvd.
Tickets are $6 each or $11 for the “double bill,” with discounts for children and senior citizens. For information and tickets, call (310) 434-3000 or go to www.smc.edu/eventsinfo or www.smc.edu/planetarium.