Planetarium Now


Here are the invitation links to the live shows for this Friday evening and Sunday afternoon - click the link, and you will be routed to the meeting waiting room.  You will be muted upon entry and we will open the programs with an explanation of when you will be able to make chatbox entries for questions - but chatbox will NOT be open on entry:

We also look forward to the expanded capabilities of the NEW planetarium SMC will be building in the not-too-distant future…

Jim Mahon
Planetarium Lecturer​

Shows will be presented live online for the foreseeable future pending decisions on eventual reopening of the main SMC campus.

All shows subject to change or cancellation without notice.

Night Sky Show

The FREE, LIVE, ONLINE, Virtual Night Sky Shows will premiere on Friday, June 12th!  These programs will be presented on the Zoom platform and the access link will appear each week under the "Planetarium Now" heading, above each Thursday. The Night Sky programs will last roughly 30 minutes, followed by a short question and answer period where guests can type questions into a chat box and we will answer as many questions as possible. A short intermission will begin at approximately 7:50 prior to the start of the Feature program at 8:00 PM.  The Sunday matinee on June 21st will begin at 2:00 pm and combine abbreviated versions of the Night Sky show and the week's Feature Show. These formats should be expected to evolve as we gain experience in this new environment.

Fri, June 12, 19  | 7:00 pm

Sun, June 21 | 2:00 pm

Fri, July 10, 17, 24, 31 | 7:00 pm

Fri, August 7, 14, 21 | 7:00 pm

Feature Shows & Guest Lectures

Planetarium Feature Shows and Guest Lectures are presented at 8 p.m. on Fridays when the Night Sky Show is scheduled, and in short form as part of the 2 pm. Sundays when a special matinee is scheduled. For the time being these programs will be presented free of charge.

Mars Exploration Update

Associate Lecturer Sarah Vincent

As the 2020 Mars launch window looms this July, our most earthlike planetary neighbor plays host to eight active spacecraft on its surface and in orbit, with more new arrivals expected in the near future. Before the next wave of arrivals go through their suspense-filled critical phases, our Associate Lecturer Sarah Vincent will bring you up to date on the probes already at work and some of their key findings.

Fri, June 12 | 8 p.m. | Zoom Online
After the 7 p.m. Night Sky Show


Stellar Navigation to Survive the Zombie Apocalypse!

Associate Lecturer Sarah Vincent

When the power grid fails, when society crumbles, when you are running for your life, what do you do? You look to the stars. Find out how, on a starry night, you can figure out where you are just by using the clues above us. Our lecturer Sarah Vincent will guide you through the perils with a steady hand and the stars in her eyes.

Fri, June 19 | 8 p.m. | Zoom Online
After the 7 p.m. Night Sky Show

Sun, June 21, | 2 pm as part of the Sunday Matinee - Zoom Online


Mars 2020 Rover, Tianwen 1, and the Hope Probe

Senior Lecturer Jim Mahon/ Associate Lecturer Sarah Vincent

NASA, China, and the United Arab Emirates are launching the next round of probes for Mars. Explore the mission launch windows, their journeys to the Red Planet, and their projected landing sites. Lecturers Jim Mahon and Sarah Vincent will also cover the instruments these roving and stationary laboratories carry on board.

Fri, July 10, 17 | 8 p.m. | Zoom Online
After the 7 p.m. Night Sky Show

The Meteors of Summer: The Perseid Shower of August 2020

Senior Lecturer Jim Mahon

Peaking on August 12, this year’s Perseid meteor shower will have some interference from a late-rising crescent Moon, but a trip away from city lights should still be a rewarding one for those willing to stay up after midnight for the peak of activity. We’ll discuss the nature of these “falling stars” and provide tips for getting the best views.

Fri, July 24, 31 | 8 p.m. | Zoom Online
After the 7 p.m. Night Sky Show

50-Year Retrospective: The Flights of Apollo - After Apollo 13 – What Changed?

Senior Lecturer Jim Mahon

After the return of Apollo 13 from its nearly-fatal mission, NASA faced the possibility of halting lunar missions if the causes and fixes for the actual accident were not quickly determined, with solutions put in place to give future missions greater safety margins. All this, at a time when NASAs budget started to shrink, had far-reaching effects on the number and types of lunar missions NASA was ultimately able to fly as Apollo came to an end in late 1972. We'll take a detailed look.

Fri, August 7, | 8 p.m. | Zoom Online
After the 7 p.m. Night Sky Show

NASA Human Spaceflight Update

Senior Lecturer Jim Mahon

By the date of this program, NASA hopes to have flown crewed tests on both of the commercial crew vehicles for transport to the International Space Station. Find out about the latest news on the Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle that is slowly moving toward test flights in 2021, human return to the vicinity of the Moon to assemble the Lunar Gateway, and other public and private efforts, some of which could potentially render some of NASA’s plans moot.

Fri, August 14, 21| 8 p.m. | Zoom Online
After the 7 p.m. Night Sky Show

Fall Programs will resume on September 11​