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Workshops > Astronomy

Expansive Skies, An Astronomy Weekend

Workshop ID: G13O31W
Dates: March 8, 2013 - March 10, 2013 Price: $125.00


NOTE: This workshop has been updated from the print catalog.

While we can never bemoan the advent of electricity, we must recognize that with its infiltration in our lives, many have lost a connection to the night sky. Fortunately, it is readily available at Ghost Ranch. Come reorient yourself by soaking in the sea of stars that stare down upon this Land of Enchantment. This is an all-ages course that will reflect upon the Northern New Mexico night sky using the stellar Ghost Ranch telescope and other astronomy tools. We will also lace native spirituality and reflection throughout, giving a truly unique spiritual touch to our astronomical musings.

Our objectives will be to to explore and familiarize the astral world above Ghost Ranch; learn some basic astronomy concepts; how to identify about fifteen winter/spring/summer constellations and their important stars; visually explore important stars and other sky objects with the naked eye, binoculars and telescope; and learn some Southwest Indian constellation stories and belief structures. At the end of the weekend you will have improved your astronomy skills to be able to use them at home as well.

View a chart of your lodging options for this 2-night workshop -  Rates include meals.

Friday evening: 7-9:00 p.m. (possibly later if there is interest) Indoors (one hour): Personal introductions; a little night time history of Ghost Ranch; general introduction to stars/constellations; `owl’ eyes (adjustment to dark); picking out prominent sky objects and patterns; proper binocular use and field of vision; telescope use, go over Big Dipper, Little Dipper and North Star-Orion if there is time. Outdoors (one hour+): Observe and discuss the Big and Little Dipper and the North Star. Short Southwest stories of these two will be told. Free time to observe and discuss astral skies.

Saturday: 10-12:00 a.m. Further discussion of astronomy: i. e. star color denotes age (white/young, yellow/ middle aged, red/elderly); binary stars, Milky way, nebulas, planets, moon, circumpolar constellations: Slide lecture continues with talk of planets, the moon and other celestial objects, discussion of cultural place of Ghost Ranch (and possibly Chaco Canyon) in Ancestral Pueblo culture.

Afternoon – Time for rest, hiking (one of the many beautiful trails of Ghost Ranch), etc.

4-5:30 pm Introducing the importance of stars generally to all cultures as stories that were entertaining, enlightening or gave navigational aid. We will focus on Pueblo Indian star lore with a native lecturer who will share with us some of her culture’s worldview. 7-9:00 p.m. (and later if there is interest)

Indoors: Discuss/view prominent winter constellations-Orion, Pleiades, Gemini, Taurus and spring constellations. Outside-observe constellations noted above, and special attractions such as the Orion nebula. If time, mini stories of stars from Pueblo cultures-and if applicable sharing of Great Lakes star stories to provide contrast.

Sunday: 10-12:00 a.m. Indoors: show slides of major summer constellations: i.e. Summer Triangle, Scorpio, Sagittarius (among others). Visitors may see these in the early A.M. at home as spring advances. Recap of experiences & observations.


John Lorenzen - head shots

John Lorenzen has loved astronomy for many years. He has taught in a variety of settings –  in the mountains above Los Angeles, in an oak forest in Wisconsin, along the shores of an island in the Great Lakes and here in the vast spaces of northern New Mexico. He’s enjoyed teaching about the stars, constellations and astral cultural stories. John has degrees in environmental education and teaching.  In addition he is an ethno botanist and studied under a medicine woman. He is also an actor, writer and an artist.

For more information or if you would like to attend this workshop, but do not need lodging, please call the Registrar's Office at either 505.685.1001 or 505.685.685.1017 Monday-Saturday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p. m. (MST).

Two ways to register:

  1. Download printable registration form and mail to: Ghost Ranch Registrar, HC77 Box 11, Abiquiu, NM 87510. OR scan and email your completed form to:
  2. Register by telephone at 877-804-4678, extension 4152 or 4155 — available Monday-Friday 8:30 a.m. - 4:45 p.m. MST.