TJC science center announces holiday hours, dome shows
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TJC science center announces holiday hours, dome shows

The holiday season has arrived at the TJC Center for Earth and Space Science featuring Hudnall Planetarium.

During Thanksgiving Week, Nov. Nov. 20-25, center hours are 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday-Wednesday and 11 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Saturday.

From Nov. 28 through Dec. 16, center hours are noon-4:30 p.m. Tuesdays-Fridays and 11 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Saturdays.

During the holiday break, the center will be open 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday, Dec. 18-22, and Wednesday-Saturday, Dec. 27-30.

The center will be closed Thanksgiving Day and the day after, Nov. 23 and 24; Saturday-Tuesday, Dec. 23-26; and New Year’s Eve, Dec. 31.

Dome shows with a holiday or winter theme will be presented through Dec. 30, including:

• “Season of Light” (1 p.m.) — This show recounts the historical religious and cultural rituals practiced during the time of winter solstice – not only Christian and Jewish, but also Celtic, Nordic, Roman, Irish, Mexican and Hopi. It also looks at a few of the more light-hearted seasonal traditions: from gift giving and kissing under the mistletoe to the custom of decking the halls with greenery and candles. Saint Nicholas, Sinterklaas, Kris Kringle, Father Christmas, and Santa Claus all drop by as well.

• “Eclipse: The Sun Revealed” (2 p.m.) — On April 8, 2024, the Moon will cast its shadow ow on the Earth, tracing a narrow path across North America. If you stand in just the right place, you will see the Moon cover up the Sun in a total solar eclipse! Don't miss the incredible experience! Learn how to safely observe eclipses, why they happen, and how the study of eclipses has advanced science. April 8, 2024: Where will you be?

• “Mountain Adventure: Out of Bounds” (3 p.m.) — Follow Olympian Torah Bright as she journeys through the world’s longest chain of mountain ranges extending from Antarctica all the way to Alaska. Along the way, Torah will ride with backcountry legend Jeremy Jones and free-skiing superstar Sammy Carlson. Together, they will encounter penguins, polar bears and other wildlife, and meet with scientists and environmentalists to uncover a deeper understanding of our mountain ecosystems.

• “Mystery of the Christmas Star” (4 p.m.) — Journey back more than 2000 years to Bethlehem for scientific explanation for the star the wise men followed to find the baby Jesus.

On Saturday, Dec. 16, the center will host a special “Rock the Dome” holiday edition, with a “Laser Holidays” show at 7 p.m.

“We have a lot of great shows lined up for the holiday season,” said Dr. Beau Hartweg, science center director. “Plus, we have science center memberships available that would make great stocking stuffers!”

Admission is $7 for adults, $5 for children, students and seniors (ages 65 and over).

The science center is located at 1411 E. Lake St., on the TJC main campus. Parking is free.

For the complete list of shows or to purchase advance tickets, go to

Celebrating 60 years of space and science in East Texas region
The TJC Earth and Space Science Center is also preparing to celebrate another important milestone — the 60th anniversary of the Hudnall Planetarium, which hosted its first public shows on November 30, 1963.

The first center of its kind in East Texas, the Hudnall Planetarium introduced countless schoolchildren to science and space.

The planetarium closed in 2010 for a massive expansion and reconstruction and then reopened in 2011 as the Center for Earth and Space Science Education at TJC. Home to the first 40-foot Spitz nano-seam domed theatre in East Texas, the updated planetarium features the latest digital projection technology for an immersive, full-dome video experience.

The original planetarium space was converted into an interactive area for visitors to enjoy ever-changing exhibits and plasma-screen displays with real-time video from NASA and the Space Telescope Science Institute. The center also includes an instructional/workshop space and a series of outdoor, educational plazas, including a 15-foot diameter, granite sundial.

In recent years, the center has been renamed the Earth and Space Science Center featuring Hudnall Planetarium, to honor its original name and heritage.

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