The Radford Planetarium hosts seven more showings of its traditional holiday show “Season of Light”.
Projected overhead on the curve of the new planetarium, the popular 35-minute event explores legends and traditions associated with the stars that appear during the Christmas season.
Dating couples, clubs, families showing visitors Radford’s attractions, this family-friendly event has drawn a surprising array of audiences.
“All ages come to these shows and you just never know when something like a seniors’ group, or a Scout group, will suddenly show up,” Rhett Herman, professor of physics and Radford University planetarium director said.
“We often get people who have out-of-town visitors and they show up year after year for this particular show. It’s always fun to see that.”
Stars visible in the winter sky are Orion the Hunter, Taurus the Bull, and Leo the Lion, Traditions of Jolly Old Saint Nick, the Star of Bethlehem, holiday lights, solstice festivals and candles are discussed.
In its twelfth year at the university, the event is narrated by Noah Adams of NPR’s ‘All Things Considered’.
The theme presents the sky as a calendar and clock guiding when to plant and harvest. The Egyptians prepared for Nile floods according to the constellations and Native Americans for buffalo migrations. Even today, the sky cues the dates of festivals.
“It’s always great to mix traditional holiday fun with astronomy education. The main astronomical theme of this show is that our ancestors’’ lives absolutely depended on the stars,” Rhett said.
The planetarium is exciting all year too, of course.
“Cub Scout Pack 244 has indeed been to the RU planetarium as a special event. The boys were also encouraged to visit during the eclipse to earn a special badge. Even though going there wasn’t necessary for the badge work, many did,” Cubmaster Holly Moore of the Radford pack said.
Attendance is best in the evening, said Herman, recalling last Thursday’s 30 visitors. Afternoon attendance fluctuates widely, but last Saturday’s 10:30am kid-centric show drew 46 people with a lot of younger kids.
For schedules visit the planetarium’s site at: www.radford.edu/planetarium
The seven shows are tomorrow (Dec 14) at 4 p.m. and 7 p.m., Saturday (Dec 16) at 10:30 a.m, Tuesday (Dec 19) at 4 p.m. and 7p.m., and Thursday (Dec 21) at 4p.m. and 7p.m.
Our ancestors thus gave great weight to what they thought the sky was trying to tell them. And so they watched for any little sign from the one thing that regulated the rhythms of all aspects for their lives. That’s the bottom line of this show.