‘Santa and Season of Light’ Come to Planetarium

'Santa' and 'Season of Light'
at TAMIU LBVSC Planetarium

Just in time for the long cold nights, the Texas A&M International University (TAMIU) Lamar Bruni Vergara Science Center (LBVSC) Planetarium will present two warm and bright special family-oriented programs that combine astronomy and holiday traditions. Season of Light and Santa Over Laredo will be presented at the Planetarium every Friday and Saturday through Dec. 23.

General admission tickets cost $5 and tickets for TAMIU students, faculty and staff and children under 12 are $4. Cash, checks and credit cards are accepted. Group rates are available for 50 or more people; advance reservations required.

"Santa Over Laredo was written, photographed and produced by Planetarium staff with the help my TAMIU students," said Dr. Winfrey, Planetarium director and assistant professor of mathematics.

"Santa Over Laredo is a TAMIU planetarium exclusive production made especially for children under the age of 12.  This fun adventure follows several young astronomers that have spotted Santa Claus flying over Laredo. Santa's sled crash lands in Laredo, and with the help of several young astronomers is able to repair it in time to make his deliveries to all the children of the world," explained Gerardo A. Pérez, Planetarium associate director.

"Naturally, there is some astronomy in Santa Over Laredo. Santa takes audiences in a tour of the solar system and talks about comets, meteors, supernovas, and planetary conjunctions. The show also teaches the audience how different cultures looked at the planets.  It is a fun and educational adventure," continued Pérez.

The Planetarium will show Santa Over Laredo at 7 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays through Dec. 23.

Season of Light made its Laredo premiere last week to an enthusiastic audience.

"Last weekend's response from the audience was very good. Children in the audience were anxious to see the younger show too," added Dr. Winfrey.

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 of Light 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 Season of Light Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. through Dec. 23.

For more information and a show schedule, visit the Planetarium on the Web at or call (956) 326.2444.

For more information, please contact Laura Jimenez at 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