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December 2002

Release Date: December 17, 2002

Season of Lights Set for ASU Planetarium

The Angelo State University Planetarium, beginning Thursday, Dec. 5, will feature its annual "Season of Lights" program focusing on the historical, religious and cultural rituals practiced during the winter solstice.

The presentation will examine Christian and Jewish practices as well as Celtic, pagan, Nordic, Roman, Egyptian and Hopi rituals. The planetarium show will be offered Thursdays at 8 p.m. and Saturdays at 2 p.m. through Dec. 14 in the ASU Planetarium in the Vincent Nursing-Physical Science Building at 2333 Vanderventer on the ASU campus.

Season of Lights also examines some of our more light-hearted seasonal traditions as well, including gift giving, kissing under the mistletoe, decking the halls with greenery and candles, and songs about lords a-leaping and ladies dancing. The customs behind St. Nicholas, Sinterklaas, Kris Kringle and Father Christmas are explored. Santa Claus drops by as well.

Naturally, the astronomy of the holiday season is highlighted as well in Season of Lights. The show displays a few Northern winter constellations and illustrates why we have seasons by following the Sun's path across the sky throughout the year and the Earth's tilt and orbit around the Sun.

The program explores the possible astronomical explanations for a "Star over Bethlehem," including discussions of comets, meteors, novae and supernovae, as well as planetary conjunctions that could account for the "star" reported by the Magi.


The program is narrated Noah Adams, host of National Public Radio's afternoon news program "All Things Considered."

Season of Lights is open to the public. Admission price is $3 for adults and $1.50 for children, students, and senior citizens. ASU students, faculty and staff are admitted free. For more information, please call the planetarium at 942-2136.

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