NOS Mission

Nevada Outdoor School inspires exploration of the natural world, responsible stewardship of our habitat and dedication to community.
This is the spot for us to share stories, fun ideas or general musings. When you aren't in here, we hope to see you out there!

Monday, September 17, 2018

Astronomy... the Great Beyond!

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 limited.  

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 sky. 

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.    

Happy Trails!


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