Year of the Solar System Event May 28, 2011

Oliver Lee Memorial State Park
ALAMOGORDO, NM – Oliver Lee Memorial State Park and the Amateur Astronomers Group will celebrate NASA’s Year of the Solar System at Dog Canyon by presenting a full day of programs on May 28th. Programming will range from solar viewing in the early afternoon to constellation stories in the evening. The event concludes with a telescope tour of the spring night sky.
“This year we have some new programs, including a synopsis of current NASA missions of planetary exploration and a line up on Native American astronomical sites in the Sacramento Mountains,” said Wendy Justice, Park Manager.
The schedule of programs follows:
1:00 p.m. – Solar Viewing: Meet at the Group Shelter
Join the Amateur Astronomers Group for an afternoon of solar viewing. View sunspots, prominences and solar flares through telescopes using either a hydrogen alpha filter or white light filter. Activity on the sun has increased in recent months so come out and learn about these and other solar phenomena, while safely viewing the surface of the sun.
3:00 p.m. – The Year of the Solar System: Meet at the Visitor Center
NASA declared October 2010 to August 2012 The Year of the Solar System, which is actually the length of the Martian year, 23 months. Jim Green, Director of Planetary Science at NASA stated: “With triple the usual number of launches, fly-bys and orbital insertions, this period of space history will be remembered as the golden age of planetary exploration.” Join James generic drug comparable to nexium Tomaka of the Amateur Astronomers Group for a presentation about these exciting NASA missions.
5:00 p.m. – Mogollon Solar Observatories: Meet at the Visitor Center
The Jornada Mogollon people raised corn, beans and squash in the Tularosa Basin. They measured the year and the seasons to maximize agricultural success at two sites in the Sacramento Mountains, Wizard’s Roost and Wally’s Dome. Join NMSU-A Archeologist Pete Eidenbach for an exploration of these two ancient astronomical observatories.
7:00 p.m. – Ancient Astronomy and Sky Stories: Meet at the Group Shelter
Join Park Ranger Charles Wood for a multi-cultural exploration of ancient astronomy and sky
stories. Ranger Wood will reveal how the ancient peoples viewed the cosmos and their place in it.
Ancient astronomers developed the first calendars, while constellation stories helped bind their
cultures together.
9:00 p.m. – Saturn in Virgo: Meet at the Group Shelter
Join the Amateur Astronomers Group for a telescope tour of the spring night sky. This spring,
Saturn dominates the sky residing in the constellation Virgo. The spring sky is full of deep space
objects to see; from galaxies far-far-away to spectacular star clusters and the nebulae where stars
are born.
Oliver Lee Memorial State Park is located 8 miles south of Alamogordo on US Hwy 54 and 4
miles east on Dog Canyon Road. Although there are no charges for individual programs, all dayuse
entry fees and camping fees do apply.
For more information on these and other night sky programs at Oliver Lee Memorial State Park
log on to www.nmparks.com or www.astronomersgroup.org.