Astronomy professor hosts annual planetarium night

Story and Photos by Arlene Guerrero

Astronomy professor Amy Fredericks holds a globe of the moon in the Planetarium room at the Liberal Arts Campus of Long Beach City College in Long Beach, California on Oct. 4, 2018. Fredericks recently gave a lecture on Pluto and the Kuiper Belt on Sept. 28, 2018.

Planetarium Night returns at LBCC as “Pluto and the Kuiper Belt,” on Sept. 28 in the D building room 326 at the LAC.

The event was free and open to LBCC students and faculty and allowed the audience to explore the night sky and virtually travel through the solar system with a 35 foot diameter hemispherical dome.

Astronomy professor Amy Fredericks hosted the first of the four science nights of the fall 2018 semester, as there are a variety of science topics that are covered once a month for every semester.

Fredericks has previously covered multiple events such as science and planetarium night. Fredericks also hosted an event on the exploration of Mars last semester.

“It’s such a beautiful event to host and be apart of; getting people interested in astronomy, space, getting them to want to take an astronomy course and maybe even giving them the idea of majoring in it,” Fredericks said.

The audience was introduced to a new, unlabeled object that the New Horizons Mission Team observed, “Ultima Thule” which passed in front of a star and blocked its light.

Fredericks spoke upon Pluto being demoted from the rest of the planets, and its similarities on Eris, Makemake and Haumea.

Room D326 was filled with a selection of many different students with different interests while being talking about distances in AU’s from the sun and objects in the solar system.

“It’s something that not all people find interesting, but being a biology major, I find anything having to do with science interesting, and I mean who doesn’t like to see the beautiful stars” biology major Ashley Zinoga said

Although a few of the Astronomy professors offer extra credit, a few of the students also wanted to travel through the solar system for curiosity.

“I chose to come not just for the extra credit, but to also see that is beyond our planet and the night sky, I always wondered what it’s like,” student Jonathan Castillo said.

The next night of the Planetarium will be held on Oct. 26 by Douglas McElroy at 7 p.m. where the doors will be open to the public at 6:30 p.m.

Being the first-come-first-serve event, early arrival is encouraged as seats tend to fill up quickly.