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Santa Monica College Planetarium Announces June Shows
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By Lookout Staff

May 19, 2016 -- An ill-fated mission, a view of deep sky objects (DSOs) and an update on a spacecraft that will arrive in Jupiter orbit on July 4th will be showcased at the Santa Monica College planetarium next month, college officials announced.

The feature shows, which start at 8 p.m., are preceded at 7 p.m. by “The Night Sky Show,” which offers the latest news in astronomy and space exploration, a family-friendly “tour” of the constellations and the chance to ask astronomy-related questions, officials said.

Next month's lineup at the John Drescher Planetarium kicks off June 3 with “Gemini 9: Backup Crew, an Angry Alligator, and a Spacewalk Nightmare,” which looks at the troubled Gemini 9 mission that took place 50 years ago in June 1966.

The Titan-2 rocket lifted off June 3 and successfully placed Gemini-9 into orbit and began to rendezvous the Augmented Target Docking Adapter (ATDA) where it planned to dock.

The damaged craft -- which still had two pieces of its conical nose hanging agape -- prompted command pilot Thomas P. Stafford to compare it to an angry alligator.

The following day, plans to circle the damaged craft with the first jet-powered backpack for flying in space were scrapped after pilot Eugene Cernan's helmet glass fogged over.

Cernan, who was flying his first mission, would become the last man to step on the moon on the final Apollo Mission, which took place in 1972.

The presentation continue June 17 with ”Summer Deep Sky Wonders,” a look at the "beautiful images of some of the finest deep sky objects," officials said.

There will be a discussion of what the DSOs "seem to be telling us about our universe" and tip on where to go to view them.

The final presentation, “Juno at Jupiter” on June 24, will take a look at NASA’s Juno spacecraft, which will arrive in Jupiter orbit on July 4th. The mission's goal is to "map the gravitational field, magnetosphere, and internal structure of the massive gas giant planet," officials said.

Juno launched on August 5, 2011, Juno will be the first spacecraft flown to Jupiter that will generate solar power from the planet's neighborhood. The others relied on nuclear power. Juno is currently scheduled to impact Jupiter in February 2018.

The planetarium is on SMC’s Main Campus in Drescher Hall, Room 223. Admission to a single show or lecture is $6 ($5 for seniors ages 60 or older and children ages 12 and under). Discounts are also available for double-bills of the Night Sky Show and that evening’s scheduled event of $11 ($9 seniors and children).

More information is available at or by calling (310) 434-3005.

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