Astronomy…the great beyond! A week ago, I gave an astronomy program to the public at the California Trail Interpretive Center in Elko. Working in environmental education, botany has always been my strength, but astronomy is a side hobby and passion.
I was born in the late 70s and grew
up with movies like “Space Camp” and “Explorers.” I loved launching into space
with Lea Thompson and building a space ship out of a Tilt a Whirl cart with
Ethan Hawke. These childhood fantasies
made the world beyond our atmosphere an intriguing mystery.
Thus, when the BLM was looking for an astronomy presenter I agreed. As humans, we are all self-centered to a
certain effect. Besides the light and
warmth provided by the sun, that which lies beyond our atmosphere is of no
consequence to most people. It doesn’t
impact our daily lives and thus our observation and knowledge of that place is
The evening of September 5th
I sought to change that. Loaded up with
beads, string, a planisphere, telescope, a laser pointer, compass, tape and
scissors I was ready. But the weather
had another plan. Summer in Nevada is
generally predictable- no rain, and possible smoky skies due to fire. Unfortunately, on the night of September 5th
we had a completely overcast sky threatening to rain. The 55 people who showed up missed any direct
star observations. Nonetheless, we
worked together and built a current-day solar system model and discussed how
the planets revolved around the sun. We
learned why we see stars at slightly different times every night and see planet
in different periods and locations than we see the star background of the night
It was unfortunate weather for the
program, but there will be more opportunities to learn more about astronomy in
Elko. We will be having our next program
on the night of October 12th.
Additional programs will be advertised through the California Trail
Interpretive Center and Nevada Outdoor School-Elko.