Stars Over The Western Trails


During the time of the Westward Movement, the skies were dark--very dark. Unfortunately our connection with the stars, galaxies, and other nighttime objects is being slowing destroyed by our modern lifestyle. Light Pollution is the the unwanted glow of city lights shining up into the night sky. For those of us who are fortunate enough to live in rural areas, or who are able to explore the most remote reaches of the western trails, the nighttime sky can still be brilliant. Follow these links to get started on an incredible journey.
  • A great place to start! An Astronomy Course Using the Internet From Jack Troeger: ASTRONOMY IS LOOKING UP! And the Internet is an excellent place to look up astronomy. As you use this document I hope you will find exploring the Internet motivating and challenging, and that it will lead you to a treasure of data and information that will guide you to a deeper, more profound understanding of astronomy. That way when you reach the end of the "course," it will not be the end, but rather the beginning of your own personal journey through the cosmos. Or as the great poet, T. S. Eliot, wrote in his Four Quartets, "We shall not cease from exploration and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time."

  • A Cosmic Journey Chapter I: A History of Early Astronomy. Pre-historic travelers of 30,000 years ago, as well as the American Indians, western pathfinders, mountain men and explorers needed to be able to find their way home. Celestial objects were the only reliable guides in unfamiliar landscapes.

  • Animation of Apparent Stellar Rotation A day with the stars.... animated.

  • Astronomy: The Cosmic Journey The complete outline. An excellent site! A wealth of information.

  • Ancient Astronomy at Chaco Canyon, NM Fajada Butte, a large butte at one end of Chaco Canyon, has a series of parallel rocks (The so-called 'Sun Dagger') that serve as an incredibly accurate solar and lunar calendar.

  • La Estrellita Observatory The Home Page of Raśl J. Alvarez who has an observatory nestled among ponderosa pines, aspens and expansive meadow views in the Roosevelt National Forest, in northern Larimer County, north central Colorado. A nice site.

  • The Astronomy Cafe: What People Really Ask An Astronomer! Dr. Sten Odenwald, Astronomer at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

  • The Moon: Good information, images, and lots of links! And The Solar System also very good info and lots of links to the other planets!

  • Native American Astronomy Good information about Lakota Stellar Theology, equinoxes, solstices, constellations; the 26,000 year precessional cycle of the stars and the Sun's seasonal path among the stars and what it means

  • Viewing the Nighttime Sky From Rocky Mountain National Park

  • Exploring the West: How Lewis and Clark determined Latitude and Longitude with the aid of the octant and the sextant to determine lunar distances - the distances between the moon and certain stars - on their 1804 expedition.

  • StoneWheels And Dawn Stars Rising Stones, stars, the directions, time -- these can speak to us out of an otherwise mostly silent past. Sometimes their language is intuitive, spiritual, meanings or awe will be felt by the sensitive, but can't really be communicated. But when scientists get interested, the cosmos speaks, and they can hear it through mathematics. What may have been lost in the mists of time can be found again.

  • World Wide Listing of Amateur Astronomy Clubs All clubs welcome newcomers! Most clubs have sky viewing at their regular meetings, with members bringing their telescopes. Attend one in your locality, and get hooked!

  • The Antique Telescope Society Folks interested in antique astronomical paraphernalia and preserving historical data.

  • The Palomar Observatory, San Diego County, CA Famous site of the Palomar Observatory. I grew up in San Diego, and still relish the memories of experiencing 6th Grade Camp at Mt. Palomar, and visiting the Observatory.

  • Dark Sky Image Map Clicking on this map will give you a listing of approximate zenithal naked eye limiting magnitude, distance, longitude, and latitude within a 60 mile radius. Read the instructions on this page to find the best dark sky sites in your area.

  • Using the information at the above site, and following the link to "home" (where I clicked on the Image Map) I was able to plot out My Location! This has really dark skies! I am fortunate in that I do not see a single light from my property!

  • Good Neighbor Outdoor Lighting A guide to selecting and installing efficient, cost-effective, and unobtrusive outdoor lighting fixtures.

  • Tuscon Arizona's Outdoor Lighting Ordinances A good start to preserving the Dark Sky.

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