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.
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.