• MHCC Planetarium Preview: 2018: A Snapshot of Upcoming Astronomical Events

    The new year promises to be an interesting one for amateur and professional astronomers. In the night sky, stargazers will see Venus and Mars at their brightest as Earth orbits closer to each planet in 2018. Mars will be particularly visible as it journeys along its second closest approach to Earth since 1958.

    Mars as imaged from the Hubble Space
    Telescope in 2003. In 2003, Mars was at
    its closest approach to Earth in
    recorded history. In 2018, Mars will
    be almost as close as it
    was 15 years ago. Credit: NASA

    Several planet alignments and even a total eclipse of the moon will be visible from Oregon in 2018. In space exploration, the new year will bring the launch of new missions to Mars, Mercury, and Earth’s moon, and one bold mission to explore the sun (orbiting 10 times closer than Mercury). Existing probes will continue exploring Mars, the stars, and the galaxy beyond Pluto.

    MHCC Planetarium Director Pat Hanrahan will present “2018: A Snapshot of Upcoming Astronomical Events” on Tuesday, Jan. 9, and Friday, Jan. 12, with shows at 6 and 7:15 p.m. each day. During each show, Hanrahan will discuss the best opportunities for viewing the 2018 night sky and share what to expect for existing and upcoming space missions.

    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 for MHCC students (identification required). Seating is limited and available on a first come, first served basis.

    The remaining school-year schedule for the MHCC Planetarium Sky Theater:
    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, 8Big Astronomy from Chile
    All planetarium shows are at 6:00 and 7:15 p.m. For more information about the planetarium, visit mhcc.edu/planetarium. Private shows for groups are also available on Fridays.