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Julia Fowler Planetarium

Home of the Star of Bethlehem Planetarium Christmas Show

Planetarium Show: Star of Bethlehem

*Show Dates: December 4th, 5th, 11th (sold out), 12th, 18th, 19th (sold out)*

The Julia Fowler Planetarium at Eastern University  presents the full-dome Star of Bethlehem program in McInnis Hall, 1300 Eagle Road, St. Davids, PA, on December 4, 5, 11 (sold out), 12, 18, and 19 (sold out). Show times are 7 p.m. and 8 p.m. each night.

The show is based on a dialog between an astronomer and his five-year-old daughter (played by Biology Professor Maria Fichera’s daughter, Carina) who wants to know why we have Christmas traditions like mistletoe, candy canes, twelve days of Christmas, decorating houses with greenery, and the Star of Bethlehem. The show explains the origins of many of our Christmas customs and then investigates when Jesus might have been born. After narrowing down the date, the show takes the audience back to Jerusalem and Bethlehem around 3 BC and attempts to look into the sky and find something that might have been interpreted as the famous Star which led the Wise Men to the Christ child. Fascinating new historical clues have led to an interesting new twist to the story …but you’ll have to come and see for yourself to discover just what this new theory actually is!

Tickets are by reservation only and are $5 per seat, pay at the door. The presentation will last about 45 minutes. To make reservations, send an e-mail to planet@eastern.edu. Leave a name and the number of seats you would like to reserve and you will get a confirmation within one to two business days. For more information, visit: www.eastern.edu/planetarium

Julia Fowler Planetarium

To learn more about upcoming events at the Planetarium, contact Steve Sanders at 610.341.1390 or ssander2@eastern.edu

Throughout the year the Planetarium serves thousands of Pre-K through college students. The planetarium is open to the public three times a year for special presentations including the perennial favorite The Star of Bethlehem show in December. Original Fulldome Curriculum is being developed by Dr. David H. Bradstreet for Spitz, Inc., which will be used worldwide at other SciDome planetariums.

Earth MagneticsMost of our public offerings include a 25-minute presentation on the Sky Tonight. The remaining 25 minutes of the public shows feature an IMAX-like fulldome video.

The shows previously offered include Black Holes: The Other Side of Infinity, The Zula Patrol: Under the Weather, Astronaut, Stars and We are Astronomers.

Planetarium Equipment

The planetarium projection system was completely updated in May 2015 to a SciDome XD-S two-projector which has 6 times the resolution and 4 times the brightness of the SciDome that it replaced..  This makes the new system the brightest and highest resolution planetarium in a 20-foot diameter dome in the world.  We also have a SciTouch infrared laser controller which turns the dome into a touch screen, allowing the user direct interaction with the entire screen.  The Layered Earth geology software, essentially Google Earth on steroids, is also present on the system opening up entirely new vistas in Earth Science studies as hundreds of overlays can be plotted on the surface and even beneath the surface of the 3D Earth.

Congratulations!  Named Best of Main Line

Julia Fowler Planetarium was named the "Best Place to Ponder the Heavens" by Main Line Today Magazine (July 2009). Throughout the year, the planetarium serves thousands of pre-kindergarten through college students, including school, church and homeschooling groups. The planetarium is also used by Eastern University professors and students to aid classroom instruction.

Main Line Today wrote:"Tucked away on the bucolic campus of Eastern University, the digital, full-dome Julia Fowler Planetarium offers stunning views of the night sky. And while the staff is dedicated to teaching most of the year, they do develop special shows that run for three weekends each season."

David H. Bradstreet, Ph.D, is Professor and Chair of the Department of Astronomy and Physics and also serves as the Observatory/Planetarium director.  "Astronomy is probably the most popular of the sciences and also the least taught in schools," Dr. Bradstreet said.  "I'm trying to change that. I see astronomy as a much more fundamental science through which many of the other sciences can be taught.  After learning about astronomy, students and the community alike often say, ‘I had no idea how fantastic the universe really is'. Their understanding of God is profoundly influenced when they better understand the universe that He has made and sustains. Astronomy education is critical."

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