Boise's T.C. Bird Planetarium presents Yuletide program

Statesman staffDecember 14, 2013 

The Star of Bethlehem: natural or supernatural?

The T.C. Bird Planetarium will explore that age-old question. Many recognize the Star of Bethlehem as a central symbol of the Christmas season. The planetarium's annual Yuletide program will look at some of the popular theories about the star's origins.

Astro time travel

The program will also give visitors a chance to see what the sky looked like on Christmas about 2,000 years ago.

A Boise tradition The T.C. Bird Planetarium is included in the Idaho Statesman's book, "150 Boise Icons." It opened in 1969 at a time when space exploration was a new, exciting thing in American popular culture. The Star of Bethlehem program was the planetarium's first public program.

Updates since the Apollo era

Tom Campbell has been the planetarium's director since it opened its doors. He varies the program a little each year, depending on what heavenly bodies are in the sky at a given time. This year, along with the re-creation of what the sky was like 2,000 years ago, visitors will learn about Venus and Jupiter - both currently making appearances in the evening sky.

"Last year it was Mars," Campbell said. "Who knows what I'll do next year?"

What you need to know

Programs take place twice each evening at 6:30 and 7:30 p.m., beginning Wednesday, Dec. 18, through Monday, Dec. 23.

T.C. Bird Planetarium is at Capital High School, 8055 Goddard Road in Boise. Admission is $4 for adults, $2 for students and seniors (60+). No child under school age will be admitted.

The program is popular

Make your reservations by calling 854-4502 on weekdays or by emailing

The planetarium is also available by special arrangement for group programs. Call the planetarium at the number above for details.

Love Christmas music?

You're in luck. It's the backdrop for the astronomy narration.

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