December 2, 2014

Rebecca J. James, Graduate Assistant

Planetarium Presents Season of Light Dec. 5

VALDOSTA – The Valdosta State University Planetarium will present Season of Light, the third program of its 2014-2015 public outreach season, on Friday, Dec. 5.

“This holiday program will explore the reasons why humans are so fascinated with lighting up our lives during the December holiday season,” shared Dr. Kenneth Rumstay, a professor in the Department of Physics, Astronomy, and Geosciences.

“Our program will begin with a look at our December sky — planets, stars, and deep-sky objects. Then we will explore the astronomical meaning behind our seasonal traditions with a full-dome video, courtesy of Loch Ness Productions. We will trace the history and development of many of the world’s most endearing holiday customs, all of which involve lighting up the winter season — festive Christmas tree lights, burning the Yule log, and the ritual lighting of the Hanukkah menorah. The show recounts the religious and cultural rituals practiced during the time of the winter solstice, not just Christian and Jewish traditions, but also Celtic, Nordic, Roman, Irish, Mexican, and Hopi. We will also take a look at some of our more light-hearted seasonal traditions — exchanging gifts, kissing under the mistletoe, and decking the halls with greenery and candles. Also, we will examine some of the explanations that have been proposed for the star over Bethlehem.”

Shows will begin at 7 p.m., 8 p.m., and 9 p.m. Admission is free of charge. Seating is limited to 47 guests per show, and tickets will be distributed beginning at 6 p.m. on a first-come, first-served basis. Tickets are limited to seven per person. The rooftop observatory will be open after each show, weather permitting. Astronomy students and faculty members will be available to give advice on astronomy-themed gifts and instruction in how to use personal telescopes.

Located on the third floor of Nevins Hall, the VSU Planetarium underwent extensive renovations during the summer of 2011 and now includes a Digitarium Kappa digital projector, which can reproduce the night sky as seen from anywhere on Earth or from the surface of any object in the solar system, at any time in history, past or future. This technology is the first of its kind in the world.

Limited parking will be available in front of Nevins Hall and across Patterson Street.

Public outreach shows are appropriate for children ages 5 and up.

Contact the Department of Physics, Astronomy, and Geosciences at (229) 333-5752 for more information.

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