• MHCC Planetarium Preview: Black Holes, Nebulae and Other Really Strange Star “Ghosts"

    The Crab Nebula
    The Crab Nebula is what remains of a star that
    exploded and was witnessed by Chinese astronomers
    in 1054 A.D. At its heart is a neutron star, which is
    incredibly dense as it has a mass that exceeds that
    of our sun but is no larger than the City of Portland.
    The Crab Nebula is 6,500 light-years away, in the
    constellation of Taurus the Bull. This composite photo
    is from both the Hubble Space Telescope and the
    Chandra X-Ray Telescope.

    Some of the strangest events in the visible universe occur as a result of stars dying. These include neutron stars – or even black holes – left behind by powerful star explosions. Other stars never explode at all, but they leave behind compact corpses (called white dwarfs) surrounded by complex colorful patterns. Plus, the ghostly debris left by dying stars can become important ingredients for making future stars and planets.

    MHCC Planetarium Director Pat Hanrahan will present "Black Holes, Nebulae, and Other Really Strange Star Ghosts" on Tuesday, Dec. 5, and Friday, Dec. 8, with show times at 6 and 7:15 p.m. each day. During each show, Hanrahan will explain these strange celestial phenomena and present some of the best photos – taken by telescope – illustrating these events. He'll also discuss the recent detection of gravity waves resulting from the merging of black holes and neutron stars.

    Visitors are encouraged to ask questions during each 45-minute live program. Children are welcome to attend. The Planetarium is wheelchair accessible. Admission for the general public is $5, and $2 for children (17 and younger) and MHCC students (identification required). Seating is limited and available on a first come, first served basis.

    The remaining schedule for the MHCC Planetarium Sky Theater:
    December 5, 8Black Holes, Nebulae, and Other Really Strange Star Ghosts: Birth and Death of Stars
    January 9, 122018: A Snapshot of Upcoming Astronomical Events
    February 6, 9Rocks from Space: Meteors, Meteorites and Impacts...Oh My!
    March 6, 9Shockingly Strange Solar Systems: Discoveries of Planets Beyond Our Sun
    April 3, 6Stellar Dramas: Ancient Stories of the Stars
    May 8, 11Ice Worlds: Is There Life Elsewhere Within Our Solar System?
    June 5, 8TBA
    All planetarium shows are at 6 and 7:15 p.m. For more information about the MHCC Planetarium, visit www.mhcc.edu/planetarium. Private shows for groups are also available on Fridays.