On Thursdays December 2 and 9, the William M Thomas Planetarium will be giving the popular holiday evening show "Season of Light" from 7:30 to 9:00 PM. Doors will open at 7:00 PM and will be closed during the holiday program with no late admittance. Tickets are available for $8/adults and $6/seniors+children 5-12 years old from the Bakersfield College Ticket Office and online only (tickets will NOT be sold at the door) starting November 18. The BC Ticket Office is in Business Services (395-4326) and the William M Thomas Planetarium is on the second floor, northwest end of the Math-Science Building, Room 112. The map below shows you where the ticket office and the planetarium are. No food, drink, or gum/candy is allowed in the planetarium. Children must be 5 years or older. See the Planetarium's Map page for directions to the Planetarium and Parking Information.
On the day of the show, get your campus pass and bring a printout of the clearance form from "Ready Education" in your email (subject line "Campus Pass for [date]"). Visitors without email can download and submit a filled out hardcopy of the Planetarium evening show Health Checker questionnaire at the door (parents, please fill out and sign the form for your underage offspring). See the COVID-19 Restrictions for Campus Visitors page for more details (see the "one-time visitor" section).
Each show will begin with a short tour of the evening sky using the planetarium's Goto Chronos star projector followed by the 37-minute all-dome presentation from Loch Ness Productions called "Season of Light" using our Spitz SciDome projector.
"This presentation traces the history and development of many of the world's most endearing holiday customs, all of which involve lighting up the winter season — from the burning Yule log, sparkling Christmas tree lights and candles in windows, to the lighting of luminarias in the American Southwest and the traditional ritual of the Hanukkah Menorah.
'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." (Loch Ness Productions)
For more on the Star of Bethlehem, see Nick Strobel's Star of Bethlehem webpage on what it could have been.
Map to Ticket Office and Planetarium
Webpage contact: Nick Strobel