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Learn the science behind the Christmas star
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Star of Bethlehem Show

When: 7 and 8 p.m. Dec. 21

Where: H&NS Building, room 234, North Georgia College and State University, Dahlonega

How much: Free

More info:

Have you ever wondered what sort of an astrological event might have created the Star of Bethlehem?

This Friday people can search for the holy star by “thinking like a Magi” at the George E. Coleman Sr. Planetarium at North Georgia College and State University in Dahlonega.

The planetarium will present the third annual Star of Bethlehem Show at 7 p.m. and 8 p.m. Friday.

Joseph Jones, associate professor of physics, said the show is based on an annual Christmas planetarium show originally developed by several professors at Valdosta State University.

Jones said this program has been expanded slightly and added an emphasis on some of the ideas presents in the book “The Star of Bethlehem: Legend of the Magi” by Michael R. Molnar.

“We begin by reviewing several ideas about possible physical phenomena that may have been the ‘star,’ including the idea that the ‘star’ may have been a configuration of planets that had important ‘astrological’ interpretations,” Jones said.

Jones said an alignment or configuration of planets probably wouldn’t have been a visually impressive celestial event to grab first century astronomers’ attention.

“Perhaps that’s why the ‘star’ appears to have been unseen by (King) Herod and his court, who had to be informed of its appearance by the Magi,” Jones said.

Attendees will also get the opportunity to see how Biblical text related to the motion of the planets in the night sky as it was interpreted by the then “technical terminology” of the Magi.

Jones said historical sources point to the birth of Jesus as taking place between 8 and 4 B.C.

Attendees can observe the planetarium sky to see and how those dates were determined using significant configurations leading up to a planetary alignment of April 17, 6 B.C., “Great Massing.”

The event is free and door doors will open at 6:30. If the weather permits, the university observatory will open for viewing the night sky at 8:30 p.m.

In the past the shows have almost filled up. There are 46 seats available.

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