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Season of Light sheds light on Christmas traditions

November 22, 2010

By Ember Zimmerman, Staff Writer

Season of Light was a presentation arranged by Mr. Steve Morgan, planetarium director/instructor of astronomy, and narrated by National Public Radio’s Noah Adams. The presentation focused on winter traditions and how they relate to light.

The presentation opened with an explanation of which constellations and planets are currently visible, followed by an explanation of how Earth’s rotation and the tilt of its axis affect the weather and seasons. This gave the audience practical information relating to the season from the start of the show.

Among the more interesting parts of the show was a discussion about Druid, Native American, Roman, Christian and Jewish celebrations and the role light had in the season of darkness—that is, the role light played in the winter solstice.

Near the end of the presentation, the program also explored possible astronomical explanations about the star that reputedly led three wise men to Bethlehem on the night of Jesus’ birth. The star lasted too long to be a meteor; and, at the time, comets were considered bad luck. So, the theory that the Season of Light presented was that the start was possibly an alignment of planets—though it conceded that we may never know.

Season of Light was highly educational, and the turnout was good, although perhaps a bit badly-timed; few students want to see another lecture on a Friday night.

Overall, as an educational program, Season of Light was fairly well done. For an audience interested in the origins of light-based traditions of the Christmas season, it was excellent.

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