It is the year of March.
With the next Artemis missions, NASA plans to return to the Moon – further explore the lunar surface and establish the first long-term presence on the Moon – and take the next giant step into space – sending astronauts to Mars.
The Treasure Coast Planetarium has even created a new show on the Red Planet and is planning guided telescope views of Mars when it appears at its biggest and brightest, starting later this year.
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Indian River State College’s Hallstrom Planetarium in Fort Pierce will kick off its 30th year of shows with “Red Planet Rising” to educate visitors about Mars and NASA’s plans to get there. The planet should be visible in the late autumn evening sky.
The planetarium will end in 2022 and begin in 2023 with free telescope tours through the Treasure Coast Astronomical Society. It begins after December 8, when Mars and the Sun are on opposite sides of Earth, according to NASA.
During opposition, which occurs about every 26 months, Mars and Earth will be about 40 million kilometers apart when they pass each other.
Starlight Series Shows
The “Starlight Series” shows are hosted by Jon Bell, the planetarium’s director since it opened in 1993. Its dome measures 40 feet in diameter and has 75 fixed seats.
Tickets are $5 each and shows are at 7 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. on Fridays and 1 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. on Saturdays, unless otherwise specified.
Shows are recommended for children 10 years and older. Bring a sweater or light jacket as the temperature is maintained at 72 degrees.
Purchase tickets online at irsc.edu/community/planetarium, by phone at 800-220-9915, or in person at the McAlpin Fine Arts Center box office, 3209 Virginia Ave., Fort Pierce, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday see you on Friday.
“Rising Red Planet”
Oct. 7-8, 21-22; November 4-5: Find out all about Mars, the red planet, and our plans to get there. Mars is visible in the late fall 2022 evening sky.
“Star of Wonder: 30th Anniversary”
December 2-3, 9-10: What was the mysterious star that guided the Magi? Could it have been a comet, a meteor or a supernova? How could an astronomer explain it? Find out as we take the planetarium back in time over 2,000 years to recreate the skies of Judea.
” Christmas and New Year “
December 17: Enjoy a live concert “under the stars” featuring holiday tunes with electronic music from world-renowned composer and artist Jonn Serrie. Sessions are at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Tickets are $15 each.
“Mars Watch: Discover the Red Planet!”
December 9 and 17; January 13-14, 28: Members of the Treasure Coast Astronomical Society will host guided views of Mars and its features in the planetarium parking lot, weather permitting. These events are free.
“Songs from Space, The Musical!”
February 10-11, 24-25; March 10-11: Join science teachers, students, and the rest of the public in singing space songs as everyone prepares for the next big science exam. Use music to master topics.
“Onward to the Moon”
April 21-22; May 12-13, 26-27: No one has walked on the moon since December 1972. Learn about the work done by NASA and independent contractors to build and launch astronauts to the moon as part of Project Artemis.
Open Day and “A Year Full of Stars”
October 1st : Join director Jon Bell for a sneak peek at a new season of planetarium shows and awe-inspiring celestial events in Florida. Check out the planetarium’s new gift shop when it officially opens. The free event is from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
“Astronomy Day and NASA Update”
January 28: Listen to Russell Romanella, former Director of Safety and Mission Assurance for NASA at Kennedy Space Center, discuss NASA, the space program, and exploring the universe. The Treasure Coast Astronomical Society will offer exhibits with telescopes, family activities and guided sky views after the presentation, weather permitting. The free event is from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m.
“The Friendly Robot: The Modern Planetarium”
March 25: The projector turns 30 in March 2023. Learn about this modern marvel and learn how it works during a talk by director Jon Bell. The free show starts at 6 p.m.
“Pythagoras and the music of the spheres”
June 10: CIHR Math Instructor Michael Reynolds teaches the interconnections between math, music and science. The free conference starts at 6 p.m.
October 8, 22; November 5; 3 Dec 10; February 11, 25; March 11; April 22; May 13, 27: For 4-12 year olds. All adults must be accompanied by at least one child. Free shows start at 11 a.m.
Laurie K. Blandford is an entertainment journalist and TCPalm columnist dedicated to finding the best things to do on the Treasure Coast. Follow her on Twitter @TCPalmLaurie and Facebook@TCPalmLaurie. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Sign up for his What To Do in 772 weekly newsletter at profile.tcpalm.com/newsletters/manage.