Bakersfield College’s William M. Thomas Planetarium will present special shows during the holiday season which attempts to explain some of the mysteries of the holidays. Running for an extended six shows, this special holiday evening event features a presentation on the “Season of Light” which talks about holiday traditions, astronomy and attempts to explain the Star of Bethlehem, purported to have appeared on the eve of Jesus’ birth.
Each one-hour show begins with a short tour of the evening sky using the planetarium's new Goto Chronos star projector followed by the 37-minute all-dome presentation from Loch Ness Productions called “Season of Light” using Bakersfield College’s Spitz SciDome projector.
“Season of Light” also recounts the historical religious and cultural rituals practiced during the time of winter solstice — not only Christian and Jewish, but also Celtic, Nordic, Roman, Irish, Mexican and Hopi. It also takes a look at some of our more light-hearted seasonal traditions: from gift-giving and kissing under the mistletoe, to songs about lords a-leaping and ladies dancing, and the custom of decking the halls with greenery and candles. St. Nicholas, Sinterklaas, Kris Kringle, Father Christmas and Santa Claus all drop by as well.
Naturally, there is some astronomy in “Season of Light”. Audiences learn a selection of Northern hemisphere winter constellations, and find out why we even have seasons, as we demonstrate the Sun's path across the sky throughout the year, and the Earth's tilt and orbit around the Sun. And of course, the program explores the possible astronomical explanations for a 'Star over Bethlehem' in the last quarter of the show: comets, meteors, novae and supernovae, and planetary conjunctions.
Tickets are $6.50 for adults and $4.50 for students and seniors. To purchase tickets, call the Bakersfield College Ticket Office at 395-4326. Tickets will not be sold at the door. Children must be