Mt. Hood Community College Planetarium Show Offers
‘Sleeping Beauties and the White Dwarf’

Posted: October 16, 2012

Nebula HourglassThe Mt. Hood Community College (MHCC) Planetarium Sky Theater will present “Sleeping Beauties and the White Dwarf” Nov. 5 at 7 and 8:15 p.m.  

“Although this may sound like the title for a fairy tale, this show will cover the beautiful objects that occur when stars such as our own sun end their lives. They don’t explode but instead swell into red giants and then shrink and give up their outer atmospheres,” says Pat Hanrahan, Planetarium director.

Sleeping Beauty refers to the nebula shells that form around the dying star remnants. These are too small to see with the unaided eye, but telescopes show them as strange shells of odd shapes. They have names such as the Eye of God, Spirograph, Red Spider and Hourglass nebulae. Hanrahan describes these as “quite complex and beautiful.”

White Dwarf refers to the incredibly dense stellar remnant that lies in the center of each of the nebula shells. Stars such as our sun are shrunk into a ball no larger than our Earth but still have stellar masses. While they are incredibly small, they remain hot for billions of years, yet they have no nuclear reactions to maintain their heat.

Hanrahan will show visitors the current night sky with the planets and stars and the locations of many of these stellar remnants. Visitors are always encouraged to ask questions during each 45-minute program.

Campus parking is free and no permit is required. The MHCC Planetarium Sky Theater is located beneath the library on the Gresham Campus at 26000 Nebula SpirographSE Stark Street. The Planetarium is wheelchair accessible. Admission for the general public is $2 and free for MHCC students. (Student identification required.) Children are welcome (and encouraged) to attend.

Planetarium shows are held the first Monday of each month, October through June. The schedule for these shows may be found at

Individuals requiring accommodations due to a disability may contact the MHCC Disability Services Office at 503-491-6923 or 503-491-7670 (TDD). Please call at least two weeks prior to the event to ensure availability.

© 2014 Mt. Hood Community College | 26000 SE Stark St. | Gresham, OR 97030 | 503-491-6422
 Last Modified: 11/5/2012 08:36:38 AM