Santa’s Coming to TAMIU Friday

‘Santa’ and ‘Season of Light’
Return to TAMIU Planetarium

Start a new tradition this fall by visiting the Texas A&M International University (TAMIU) Lamar Bruni Vergara Science Center (LBVSC) Planetarium and watching “Santa Over Laredo” and “Season of Light,” two films that combine astronomy and holiday traditions. The shows return to the Planetarium Friday, Nov. 17, starting at 7 p.m.

There will also be a special showing Wednesday, Nov. 22, starting at 4 p.m.

Making his rounds before the big day, Santa Claus, Kris Kringle, Saint Nick, Father Christmas or, as he is known to most, Santa, crashed his sled in Laredo and with the help of several young astronomers, repaired the sled in time to deliver presents all over the world. “Santa Over Laredo” chronicles his adventures.

This Planetarium exclusive production was made especially for children under the age of 12, but the whole family can learn something from it.

“Naturally, there is some astronomy in ‘Santa Over Laredo.’ Santa takes audiences on a tour of the solar system and talks about comets, meteors, supernovas, and planetary conjunctions. The show also teaches the audience how different cultures look at the planets.  It is a fun and educational adventure,” explained Gerardo A. Pérez, Planetarium director.

“Season of Light” traces the history and development of many of the world's most endearing and familiar 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 luminaries in the American Southwest and the traditional ritual of the Hanukkah Menorah.

 “Season” also recounts the historical, religious and cultural rituals practiced during the time of the winter solstice, not only Christian and Jewish, but also Celtic, Pagan, Nordic, Roman, Egyptian and Hopi.

Light-hearted seasonal traditions such as gift-giving and kissing under the mistletoe to songs about “lords-a-leaping and ladies dancing,” and even the customs of decking the halls with greenery and candles are also highlighted. St. Nicholas, Sinterklaas, and Santa Claus are also featured.

Of course, there is also some astronomy in the show. It explores a selection of Northern hemisphere winter constellations and explains why we have seasons as it demonstrates the Sun's path across the sky throughout the year, and the earth's tilt and orbit around the sun. The last quarter of the show gives some possible astronomical explanations for the Star of Bethlehem that led the Magi to birthplace of Jesus.

Catch “Santa” Friday, Nov. 17 at 7 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 18 at 7 p.m. and Wednesday, Nov. 22 at 4 p.m.

“Season” is scheduled for Friday, Nov. 17 at 8 p.m., Nov. 18 at 8 p.m. and Wednesday, Nov. 22 at 5 p.m.

The Planetarium will be closed Friday, Nov. 24 and Saturday, Nov. 25 in observance of Thanksgiving.

General admission tickets cost $5 and tickets for TAMIU students, faculty and staff and children under 12 are $4. Buy a ticket for a second showing on the same day and save $2 off the second ticket.

For more information and a show schedule, visit the Planetarium on the Web at tamiu.edu/coas/planetarium or call 956.326.2444.

For more information, please contact Laura Jimenez at 956.326.2463 or e-mail planetarium@tamiu.edu

University office hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Journalists who need additional information or help with media requests and interviews should contact the Office of Public Relations, Marketing and Information Services at prmis@tamiu.edu