Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Explore the Sky During These Lazy Days of Summer

July 2021






Welcome Back!


We are delighted to welcome visitors back to the Planetarium! You can schedule a private show in the Planetarium for your group of 1-100 people.



Choose an astronomy show or a laser concert!


·     Rockin' Rocket Ride

·     Magic Tree House: Space Mission

·     Accidental Astronauts

·     From Earth to the Universe

·     Black Holes

·     Exploding Universe

·     Tonight's Sky

and more!

·     The Best of Pink Floyd

·     The Beatles

·     Led Zeppelin

·     Grateful Dead

·     Queen

·     Rock of Ages (music from the movie/Broadway show)

·     Pop Rock (family-friendly)

·     Laser Magic (family-friendly)

and more!




What's Up?


The sky is full of stars. We always hear about how to find the biggest a brightest constellations. But, what about the smaller ones? Join us as we find 4 small summertime constellations, including a dolphin in the sky!

Check this week's Star Talk for more information.

It's also available in Spanish!

New episodes are uploaded to our YouTube Channel each Sunday.



Explore the Universe with RVCC Planetarium



Watch our YouTube channel for weekly updates on what's visible in the sky as well as activities you can do at home.

Do you miss the Planetarium? Take a tour of the exhibits.

Join our Facebook Group for regular posts about astronomy news, activities, virtual tours, satellite passes that you can see in the real sky, and more!

Follow us on Instagram to see pictures we take at the 3M Observatory and other news.



Virtual Field Trips

Teachers, Principals, Science Supervisors, Scout Leaders, Home School coordinators, Senior Center managers, and Parents! 

Schedule virtual field trips for your students and clients. Programs are led by a live Planetarium Educator and always include time for Q&A.

Scheduling is flexible. We can present during the school day, after school, or evenings.

 Number of attendees: up to 30 per session

Fee: $75 for a 45-minute program

$100 for Magic Tree House: Space Mission

Fees for Virtual Field Trips as of September 1, 2021:

$100 for a 45-minute program

$125 for Magic Tree House: Space Mission

 The Planetarium will provide a password-protected Zoom link before your date. We can also schedule programs on Google Meet or Microsoft Teams. You can also invite the Planetarium to join your preferred platform.

·     Rockin' Rocket Ride: Our popular show has an online version. Join us on an adventure into space to learn about the Sun, Moon, and planets. (Grades PreK-K)

·     To the Moon and Back: Begin with a story about the Moon, then watch the Moon change shape in our virtual sky, and pretend to be astronauts who can travel there. (for PreK-Grade 2)

·     Magic Tree House: Space Mission  Join Jack and Annie as they look for answers to questions about space. Together, we’ll explore some of those topics to see if we find similar answers.  (Grades K-4)

·     Our Solar System: go on a tour of the planets in our solar system (Grades K-12)

·     Tonight's Sky: identify stars and constellations we can see tonight and learn some constellation stories that go along with them. (Grades K-12)

·     Patterns in the Sky: The Sun observe the Sun's rising and setting positions through the year. (Grades 2-12)

·     Patterns in the Sky: Moon Phases Why and how does the Moon's shape change? (Grades 2-12)

·     True or False, Astronomy Version: Some statements seem obvious, but are they? We'll explore statements like "brighter stars are closer to us" and "the Moon is only visible at night." (Grades 5-12)



Youth and Teen Programs

Virtual and In-Person






This summer, RVCC has a variety of virtual and in-person programs for grade school to high school students.

We have Black Rocket & Super Science Programs for Kids to increase knowledge in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math). Enrichment programs include English and writing courses, Journalistic Writing, Workshops for Young Writers, and more. RVCC will be working with the High Level 5th Quarter Training program to provide a health & wellness camp. SAT/ACT prep courses will also be available for this summer.




The Sky in July and August


Venus and Mars are low in the WNW at dusk. They passed each other on July 12. Venus will pass 1 degree (about one finger's width) north of the star Regulus on July 21. Mars is slipping more into the bright twilight and will be harder to see as the weeks pass.

Saturn rises around sunset. Jupiter rises about an hour after Saturn. These two giant planets are visible all night long.

The Summer Triangle, made by the brightest stars in the constellations Cygnus, Aquila, Lyra, is passing overhead after sunset. If you are in a very dark location, without light pollution, you may see the Milky Way Galaxy as a hazy band of light through this asterism.

The autumn constellation Pegasus, the Flying Horse, is starting to make its appearance in the eastern sky in the evening.

The Perseids, one of the best meteor showers of the year, peaks the nights of August 11-13. The crescent Moon will set early in the evening and won't interfere with any meteor-watching we want to do. You can see more meteors around midnight, so stay up late, turn off the porch lights, and look around the sky in all directions.


Follow RVCC Planetarium on Facebook and YouTube for weekly updates about sky events.




Moon Phases


First Quarter July 17

Full Moon July 23

Third Quarter July 31

New Moon August 8

First Quarter August 15

Full Moon August 22

Last Quarter August 30


Have you ever wondered when is the best time to look for the Moon? It's in the sky roughly half the day, but which part of the day? Where do you look?

The Moon is constantly orbiting the Earth. Each day, it rises about 50 minutes later than it did the day before.

The following are guidelines. You can look up exact rising and setting times on websites like

The Full Moon is opposite the Sun. It rises in the East at sunset and sets in the West at sunrise.

The Third Quarter Moon rises at midnight and sets at noon.

The Waning Crescent Moon is easiest to see in the east before sunrise.

The New Moon rises with the Sun and sets with the Sun.

The Waxing Crescent Moon is easiest to see in the west just after sunset. Can you find it before sunset?

The First Quarter Moon rises at noon and sets at midnight.



Please Consider Making a Tax-Deductible Donation to the Planetarium

Support from the community has repeatedly played a key role in our success at the RVCC Planetarium. We are proud to offer affordable, educational field trips and engaging public events for our community. Your continued support helps us to provide innovative, educational experiences for our diverse audiences. Donations made to the Planetarium on Giving Day and throughout the year help support new and exciting programs and help us maintain and upgrade our equipment.


 Thank you for your support!



To reach us, email