Planetarium Back Online

Does anyone know about the recent happenings in space, such as the findings on Mars by the Spirit Rover, or the mission to Saturn and its Moon Titan with the Cassini Mission?

If anyone has kept up to date on the current news relating to astronomy, then the cancellation of the planetarium shows for the past weeks comes as no surprise.

"Unfortunately, we've had a major equipment malfunction with our Digistar Computerized Star Projector," said planetarium director Jon Hodge. "We will be unable to offer any planetarium shows until it's fixed."

It is because of this major malfunction that the shows have been canceled.

"We hope to be back in operation and running again March 13," said Hodge. Talking to him this week he said that the show, "Time for Mars," is happening.

The Evans & Sutherland Digistar II planetarium projector uses digital technology and imaging to take audiences beyond the solar system in mesmerizing presentations that are educational and riveting.

You can visit any galaxy or stay in the Milky Way, as the Planetarium takes a virtual journey throughout the universe. The only limits are space and time (picture traveling into the heart of an atom itself).

In 1996 John Drescher donated $530,000 to SMC, and because of his generous gift the planetarium we have became available. It is the first of its kind in California. The Drescher Planetarium, named after him, opened June 6, 1997.

Drescher died in 2000 while still residing in Santa Monica. He was 89 years old and he left a $1.5 million bequest to the college, the largest private donation in SMC history.

In his honor the College Board of Trustees renamed SMC's Technology Building to Drescher Hall. It is also the building where the planetarium is located.

The Planetarium seats 60 people and deals with issues of astronomy and cosmology.

Topics are usually news-related, such as recent findings on Mars, and include a lecture as well the show.

As for the canceled shows, current director Hodge said, "We will follow our normal schedule when we are back online."

For show info, visit (, or call (310) 434-4223.