Give us the cosmos one show at a time

Give us the cosmos one show at a time

While driving down Victory Boulevard, one might notice a blue dome on the Pierce College campus. It’s part of Pierce’s observatory, a facility that isn’t offering planetarium shows or telescope viewing nights. 

Pierce should host planetarium shows and telescope viewing evenings again for the public. Astronomy professors can volunteer and help attendees navigate the night sky via telescopes. 

Los Angeles Valley College hosted monthly planetarium shows open to the public. They were hosted and sponsored by the Astronomy Group, a campus club. Planetarium shows provided information on the night sky, constellations and extraterrestrial life. 

Past planetarium shows at Pierce were hosted by Professor Dale Fields. The shows were two hours long and six projectors projected the night sky above attendees’ heads. 

Santa Monica College hosts virtual planetarium shows on Zoom. These shows involve using freeware sky visualization tools that show attendees constellations, planets and deep sky objects in the Southern California night sky. There is also a question and answer session after the 30 minute show. 

Hosting virtual shows can be convenient when the Pierce observatory is closed. They also offer more convenience for those who cannot attend the in person events. 

Los Angeles City College (LACC) hosted a “Star Party.” The Physics Department and LACC’s Astronomy Club invited the public to this telescope viewing party. The college hosted the party off campus to get a better view of the night sky. 

Pierce could begin hosting these events again with telescopes provided by the Physics and Planetary Sciences Department. Pierce astronomy professors could provide extra credit as an incentive for their students to attend and help.

At this event, refreshments can be available for purchase. Admission can be free. Pierce can hand out pamphlets or papers that contain information about certain constellations or stars that are visible that night. 

With COVID-19 restrictions easing, offering planetarium shows and telescope viewing nights can be opportunity for people to gather on campus and learn more about the night sky, and for Pierce to share its love for astronomy with the public.  

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