• Mt. Hood Community College Planetarium Presents: “Exploring the Autumn Sky”

    Show dates are Tuesday, September 24 and Friday, September 27, 6 p.m. & 7:15 p.m.

    The Mt. Hood Community College Planetarium opens its new season early this year on Tuesday, September 24 and Friday September 27 with “Exploring the Autumn Sky” at 6 p.m. and 7:15 p.m. for both dates. Planetarium Director Pat Hanrahan will help spectators learn how to find some of Autumn’s constellations and will also be covering the status of current space missions. He will also be discussing an unexpected asteroid that recently swung within 45,000 miles from Earth. The headline on a CBS News article regarding the incident was titled “City Killer Asteroid Misses Earth - and Scientists had No Idea.”

    The Mythology for the Constellations of the Autumn Sky
    Credit: Image derived from Stellarium public domain software: https://stellarium.org/)

    Autumn nights can be quite pleasant with increasing darkness, which allows us to see the some of the sky’s best attractions. The Milky Way is high in the sky along with numerous interesting star clusters, nebulae and galaxies. Jupiter will be setting earlier each night but will be making close approaches to Venus and to the Moon before it disappears from the night sky. Saturn with its wide-open rings is easily found throughout the season and Mercury will even be making a rare transit across the sun. 

    Admission is only $5 for adults. MHCC students (with valid ID) and children 17 and under are $2. All shows are presented under a realistic representation of the night sky, featuring the latest galactic, stellar and planetary images.

    This will be the opening showings for the 2019-2020 MHCC Planetarium season. The schedule for the coming school year is as follows:

    September 24, 27 Exploring the Autumn Sky (Note early dates for this season opener)
    October (Shown on September 24, 27)
    November 5, 8 Amateur Photographers Take On The Night Sky With Amazing Results
    December 3, 6 A Travel Guide to our Moon
    January 7, 10 Latest Pictures Explore Jupiter and its Moons

    Additional shows will be held on:

    • February 4 and 7
    • March 3 and 6
    • April 7 and 10
    • May 5 and 8
    • June 2 and 5

    All shows for the remainder of the school year are scheduled for the first Tuesday of each month and the following Friday. The opening show is scheduled early to allow the Planetarium Director to accept an invitation to attend a meeting at the Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array in New Mexico in October. Hanrahan has this opportunity through his position as member of the Astronomy in Chile Educator Ambassador Program (ACEAP).

    For more information about the planetarium, visit mhcc.edu/planetarium. This web site also has information for reserving private planetarium showings for groups such as school classes, clubs and other groups. Groups may also request special subjects that they wish to have covered. It should be noted that the Sky Theater is wheelchair accessible.