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Santa Monica College Planetarium Explores the Winter Solstice

Bob Kronovetrealty
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Have Extra Room for the Holidays 2019

Santa Monica Apartments

Santa Monica College
1900 Pico Boulevard
Santa Monica, CA 90405
(310) 434-4000


By Jorge Casuso

November 20, 2019 -- For the pagans, Persians, Romans, Christians and other cultures around the world, the Winter Solstice marks a turning point in the year.

Known as midwinter, it marks the shortest day and longest night of the year, the day when the sun reaches its lowest point in the sky and is reborn.

On Friday, December 6, and again on Friday, December 13, the Santa Monica College (SMC) John Drescher Planetarium will present “A Winter’s Solstice," which explore the annual phenomenon marked by festivals and rituals that takes place December 21.

The feature show "examines the history of various ancient observances of the Winter Solstice, and how they have evolved and melded with our later Judeo-Christian holidays," planetarium officials said.

"People have long felt the need to face the coming of winter with festivities, and customs like the burning of the 'Yule Log' and hanging of evergreens seem to far predate the celebration of Christmas in December."

In northern Europe, the solstice was celebrated as a holiday called "Yule," which would take a more modern form in such popular traditions as the Christmas tree, the Christmas wreath and the Yule log.

The show also reviews the science that might explain the star mentioned in the Gospel of Matthew that appeared above Bethlehem the night Jesus was born.

In the Gospel story, the three Wise Men, or Magi, journey to Jerusalem to worship the infant Jesus by following the star.

The show "takes a look at a re-creation of the remarkable planetary conjunction in 2 BCE that is a leading candidate for a scientific explanation of the Star of Bethlehem."

The feature shows and a telescope viewing session take place at 8 p.m. and are preceded at 7 p.m. by “The Night Sky Show,” which offers "the latest news in astronomy and space exploration, a family-friendly 'tour' of the constellations and answers to astronomy-related questions.

The John Drescher Planetarium, which features a Digistar projection system, is located near the elevators on the second floor of Drescher Hall, 1900 Pico Boulevard.

Tickets are available at the door and cost $11 ($9 seniors and children) for the evening’s scheduled “double bill," or $6 ($5 seniors age 60 and older and children age 12 and under) for a single show or telescope-viewing session.

For more information call (310) 434-3005 or visit All shows are subject to change or cancellation without notice.

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