SMC’s Drescher Planetarium resumes free live virtual shows in September

The John Drescher Planetarium at Santa Monica College resumes Friday night events in September 2022 with free live virtual shows presented online at This month’s user-friendly presentations will review developments in Mars exploration, preparations for the completion of the two Voyagers missions, and the DART experiment to redirect an asteroid’s orbit. An informative lecture will also be presented on how to use binoculars to explore the night sky.

Friday night shows take place at 8 p.m. and are preceded by a simplified virtual summary of the popular Night Sky Show at 7 p.m., offering the latest news in astronomy and space exploration. Shows include the opportunity to chat with planetarium speakers and ask questions.

Planetarium speakers are currently using the Zoom platform to present shows while the on-campus planetarium remains closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. To watch the shows, the Zoom software must be installed on the viewer’s computer. A free download is available at

The September 2022 shows are:

• Friday 9 September, at 8 pm (after The Night Sky Show at 7 pm): Mars Exploration Update — Associate Lecturer Sarah Vincent. Tonight’s show features an overview of current and future missions to Mars. With several surface missions underway and one (INSIGHT) nearing completion, as well as a small international fleet of orbiters, the Red Planet remains an object of intense scrutiny, the first stages of a return mission. samples on Mars being already well under way. . Free. Zoom to

• Friday, September 16, at 8 p.m. (after The Night Sky Show at 7 p.m.): Voyagers’ End — Associate speaker Sarah Vincent. As NASA prepares for the end of the Voyagers mission, tonight’s show looks back on the legacy of 45 years of exploration by the sister ships. Free. Zoom to

• Friday, September 23 at 8 p.m. (after The Night Sky Show at 7 p.m.): DART Takes Aim — Lecturer Jim Mahon. The DART (Double Asteroid Redirection Test) mission aims to deliberately collide with Dimorphos, the smaller of a pair of asteroids, on September 26 to slightly deflect the asteroid’s orbit. Tonight’s show looks at this first small-scale demonstration of an active planetary defense technique near the moment of impact. Free. Zoom to

• Friday, September 30 at 8 p.m. (after The Night Sky Show at 7 p.m.): Looking Backyard: Binocular Highlights of the Fall Sky — Lecturer Jim Mahon. Tonight’s presentation explains how to use binoculars to enjoy fall sky reflections at a convenient time and enhance the experience by recognizing a few familiar bright stars. Topics include how to orient yourself in the Southern California fall sky, what the numbers on binoculars mean, and what are good targets to look at, and helping friends and neighbors aim with their own. binoculars. Weather permitting, guests will be prepared to take a walk outside for a quick binoculars observation right after the program. Free. Zoom to

More information is available online at or by calling (310) 434-3005. All shows are subject to change or cancellation without notice.

Submitted by Grace Smith

Arline J. Mercier