'The Star of Bethlehem' Planetarium Show Returns to Midland

'The Star of Bethlehem' Planetarium Show Returns to Midland

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

A longtime holiday tradition is returning to Midland University’s Lueninghoener Planetarium this December. Two special showings of “The Star of Bethlehem” will be presented.

Presentations are scheduled for 7 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 16, and 4 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 18. Seating is limited to 70 per show and will be available on a first-come, first-serve basis. There is no admission charge for the shows.

Lueninghoener Planetarium is located in the Swanson Hall of Science at 798 N. Irving Ave.

“We’re excited to be able to bring back this popular Christmas tradition to the Midland University campus,” said Dr. Lance Johnson, Chairman of the College of Science and Math. “We’re able to present this fulldome planetarium show thanks to Midland alumnus Jack Dunn and his wife, Elizabeth Klimek, who donated projection equipment and procured this and other shows for our use free of charge.”

Produced by the Eugenides Foundation of Athens, Greece, “The Star of Bethlehem” show takes viewers back more than 2,000 years ago to the little town of Bethlehem to investigate what was the “star” that guided the Wise Men to the birthplace of Jesus. It presents historical and scientific facts in order to unravel the mystery in a special audiovisual show.

Accompanied by the best-known music of the season, the narration guides the audience through the various historical and astronomical information of the Christmas story, along with facts about our calendar.

“The Star of Bethlehem” presentation will last about 45 minutes and will include a brief history of the Lueninghoener Planetarium. Those attending should note the program depicts flying and may cause dizziness and/or disorientation for some viewers.

Designed by Dr. Gilbert Lueninghoener, the planetarium opened its doors in 1965. Lueninghoener is credited with beginning the tradition of solid science education-based programs at Midland. For many years, Midland University presented its own “Star of Bethlehem” show using the star ball originally designed by Dr. Lueninghoener.

Dunn is a Fremont native who studied under Lueninghoener while attending Midland. Dunn served as director of the Ralph Mueller Planetarium at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln for more than 40 years before retiring in 2014.

Klimek currently is the planetarium manager of the Blue Cross Blue Shield of South Carolina Planetarium at the South Carolina State Museum. Opened in 2014, it is a digital dome theater.