Halloween isn’t just about costumes and candy.
The Charles W. Brown Planetarium will be teaching the holiday's astronomical roots in their show series, “Halloween: Celestial Origins.”
The show will teach audience members about the history of the holiday and its importance.
One of the topics will be its roots as a cross-quarter day. A cross-quarter day is the midpoint between an equinox and a solstice, said Dayna Thompson, assistant planetarium director and co-writer of the show.
“This cross-quarter day was important to the ancient Celts,” Thompson said. “It was the day they celebrated their holiday Samhain, which would eventually become Halloween.”
Celebrations also took place when there was a full moon, Thompson said. The moon’s cycle helped keep track of how much time had passed when there weren’t calendars.
“They also knew when to celebrate due to the appearance of pleiades, or star clusters,” Thompson said. “When they saw different astronomical objects in the sky, they knew what time of year it was.”
In addition to the history of Halloween, the show will touch on astronomical objects invisible to the naked eye that can be associated with the holiday, specifically nebulas.
“There’s a nebula shaped like a witch’s head, one like a black widow and one like a ghost rising out of a cloud of dust,” Thompson said.
The show was put together by the Department of Physics and Astronomy, the IDIA lab and the Department of Anthropology.
“We wanted to talk about the roots of Halloween and teach the real astronomy behind them,” Thompson said.