CCC hosts planetarium show in celebration of Native American Heritage Month


Courtesy of Brenda Maldonado

By Brenda Maldonado, Staff Writer

November is National Native American Heritage Month and Contra Costa College’s astronomy professor Jon Celesia hosted a planetarium show in celebration of the month.

After many years of not directing a planetarium show, Celesia directed his first out of hopefully many more to come at the new science building on Thursday, Nov 3. With it being sold out, there were people standing to enjoy the enlightening show.

Before the show started, he mentioned a new program that NASA is offering to community college students. NASA Community College Aerospace Scholars (NCAS), is a new program that NASA offers to those enrolled in two-year colleges who are seeking a STEM degree. 

The show was about how Native Americans would look up to the sky and stars to create stories about our existence. They wondered what the sky dome above their heads was and they believed it was a spiritual world and would create stories based on the stars. Celesia mentioned that Native American people would create many theories about the connection between our existence with the sky. 

“They once said that the sky at one time was too low and that tall people would hit their heads,” said Celesia. 

The show continued with a presentation of images of the sky during changing seasons, including winter solstice, summer solstice, and autumn equinox. He then explained how this change of seasons helped Native Americans keep track of time. Celesia had the audience engage with the show, prompting them to choose their own stars and create stories with them throughout the presentation. 

Without the technology we have today, Native Americans paid particular attention to the sky, Celesia said.

“We do our science to find out what are stars, how far away, how long they live, how they form, and what happens when they die,” Celesia said. “I think that’s important, but you need technology for that and they didn’t have the technology back then, but they could just pay attention.”

Students interested in the Contra Costa College astronomy program can visit

For more information about the NASA Community College Aerospace Scholars program, visit