Placitas Skies: A Cosmic Experience

Placitas Skies: A Cosmic Experience

Saturday, January 28, 2023 from 10 am to 10 pm

Placitas Skies: A Cosmic Experience, begins at 10 am on Saturday, January 28th, 2023.

Beginning at 10 am and lasting through the day, astronomer Tony Hull will teach us to track the sun’s shadow along the ground using a Gnomon, a simple stick projecting upwards. This simple, powerful device may well have been what the builders of great public architecture (for example The Great Pyramids, Chaco Canyon’s Pueblo Bonito) use to align the buildings accurately to the cardinal directions.

The Collin Room will feature an artistic and educational exhibit showing significant elements of our everyday environment—such as clouds during all hours and stars at night that many of us take for granted. Yet everyday occurrences of clouds seem to be changing while the stars seem constant! What about our sunrises, sunsets and moonrises? The beauty seen against our Sandia Mountain or Cabezon Peak backdrops is seldom equaled anywhere on Planet Earth! Meteorites will be available for everyone to touch, examine, allowing us to connect to these amazing objects from space. While the likelihood that a major meteor might land near Placitas like that producing Barringer Crater in Arizona may be small, its effects would be devastating! This exhibit will last from early January through all of February and be available during normal Library hours.

Explora will join us at 11am for “Exploring the Universe”. Activities will include: cloud in a bottle, model of the distance in the Solar System, a gravity well, creating a Moon Crater and finding the Hidden Moon (using binoculars). Both children and adults will find this Explora program fascinating. The Pearl Children’s Room will offer activities throughout the day, including rock painting for the gnomon.

At 1pm The Albuquerque Astronomy Society will set up telescopes outside the library to allow safe viewing of the sun, the details of which very few people ever see. Features such as sunspots and sun storms that affect everything we do will begin to make more sense.  Astronomy is not just another word we hear in school, but maybe the most mysterious element in our daily life! Everyday the sun and moon arise along the eastern horizon, yet closer examination of the universe reveals mysteries that scientists have yet to explain!  

Placitas Community Library is excited that at 2pm, astronomer Tony Hull will speak on “Seeing to the Beginning of Time: The James Webb Telescope.”  Tony will walk us through both the exquisite science and images coming from Webb, and the back story of dancing under the national limelight in the unique optical polishing endeavor that had over 300 thousand opportunities to fail. 

To top it all off, at 6pm members of The Albuquerque Astronomical Society (TAAS) will put on a Star Party at the Library. The parking lot may have as many as 30 sophisticated telescopes aimed at a variety of night sky phenomenon. We will see the richness of the surface of the moon, and galaxies, the light from which originated before Columbus discovered the new world! Please dress warmly and enter the driveway carefully. You will want to turn off your headlights as soon as possible. People will be on hand to direct parking with red flashlights to help maintain night vision. To ease the night chill, hot cider and cookies will be available inside the library.

Click here for the flier.