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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          NEWS SERVICES
210 Pittsboro Street, Campus Box 6210
Chapel Hill, NC  27599-6210
(919) 962-2091   FAX: (919) 962-2279


Not for publication

Nov. 14, 2002 -- No. 628

Media invited to view new, upgraded ‘Star of Bethlehem’ before premiere

Monday (Nov. 18)
Luncheon: 12:30 p.m.
"Star of Bethlehem" viewing: 1 p.m.
Morehead Planetarium and Science Center
UNC campus

Media representatives are invited to preview the new version of "Star of Bethlehem," the longest-running program in the history of planetariums worldwide, at the Morehead Planetarium and Science Center’s Star Theater. The center’s director, Dr. Holden Thorp, and members of the production team will be available for interviews. This event will offer strong visuals, including projection of "Star of Bethlehem" on the planetarium dome and production team members working in their studios.

"Star of Bethlehem" looks at possible astronomical explanations of that celestial event of long ago. Using planetarium wizardry, viewers examine and decide for themselves whether a blazing comet, an exploding star called a nova, a shooting star, a major eclipse or a conjunction of planets might explain the reported event.

The new program incorporates new theories from experts in archeology and history. The Star Theater’s recently upgraded video system uses additional visual sequences to make the special effects even more compelling. A new, original digitally edited soundtrack enhances audio quality.

The Morehead has presented "Star of Bethlehem" for more than 50 years. The Morehead Planetarium was the first in the country to be located on a university campus and attracts more than 100,000 visitors annually – 80,000 of them children.

Those who wish to attend the free luncheon and-or "Star of Bethlehem" preview should contact Jennifer Lamb at (919) 843-3475 or by 10 a.m. Monday.

Parking: The Morehead Planetarium and Science Center is located at the north end of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill campus, and the parking lot is off Franklin Street (directly in front of the center). Media representatives attending Monday’s event should pick up a parking permit from the business office upon arrival.

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Morehead Planetarium and Science Center contact: Jeff Hill at or (919) 962-1236
News Services contact: Deb Saine, (919) 962-8415