Thursday, March 26, 2015

Dark Skies in Westcliffe/Silvercliff

For many centuries, dark skies filled with billions of twinkling stars was taken as a matter of fact.  Shepherds, nomads, farmers and travelers used the sky to guide them and teach them.  The movements and cycles of the heavens were well-known and closely observed by all.  But, as populations have grown, first candle light and now electric lights have slowly started to block out the night sky with their light domes.
Until recently, there were only eight places in the world “certified” as “Dark Sky Communities” by the International Dark-Skies Association headquartered in Tucson, Arizona.  They are:
  • Flagstaff, Arizona
  • Borregos Springs, California
  • Isle of Sark, Channel Islands
  • Homer Glen, Illinois
  • Isle of Coll, Scotland
  • Dripping Springs, Texas
  • Beverly Shores, Indiana
  • Sedona, Arizona

Thursday, March 19, 2015

First American: New Discoveries

It seems that every year discoveries push back the date for the first Americans.  The January edition of the National Geographic magazine features an article on the discovery of a young teenaged girl who fell to her death into one of the many cenotes, or sink holes, in Central American Yucatan 12,000 to 13,000 years ago.  Although this date is roughly the date Clovis points were being manufactured in New Mexico and does not push back the date of first Americans,  of significance is its connection to the “Kennewick Man” discovered along the Columbia River in Washington.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Native American Skies: Lunar Standstill in Chaco Canyon

March 05, 2015
Earth-Moon declinations
In any given month, the rising moon swings between two extremes on the eastern horizon, similar to the oscillation of the rising sun during the year.  When the moon reaches its maximum northern or southern declination, it has a “standstill” similar to the sun at summer and winter solstices.  The standstills could be said to be the moon’s equivalence to the Solar Solstices.  [for details on lunar standstills, refer to Native American Skies: Lunar Standstills]