The WCHS is dedicated to education about and preservation of our regional heritage. They sponsor lectures, tours and workshops and also publish books, an annual journal and newsletters. On their website you'll find contact information for town and county historians and local libraries plus a full list of publications for sale. Find out more here.
13.7 billion years in 48 lectures
Don't worry, you have the rest of your life to work on this and there won't be a test. Plus you've got lots of helpful resources - people and organizations, books and websites. Hopefully the assignment will clear up some fog and bring your relationship with place into focus. Bet that's more than you got out of your high school history class.
Sky and Telescope diagramA "Cool" Family Reunion
Finally, a clear (and cold) morning. I went out about 6am Saturday hoping to view five planets and got more than I bargained for. Jupiter was the leader of the pack - unmistakably the brightest thing in the sky high in the west. Mars and Saturn took a little searching. They're dimmer and lie amongst stars of similar magnitude. It helps if you recognize the outlines of the constellations. Then you can spot something that looks out of place. Remember, the constellations you see just before dawn in winter are the same ones visible early on summer evenings.
Mars was about halfway up from the horizon looking south, lying between Spica to the west and Antares to the east. It was just a little bit brighter than those two stars and glowed with a steady orange color compared to their stellar twinkly whiteness. Saturn was further east beyond Antares and the constellation Scorpius. It's usually described as having a golden color. Now's an opportunity to compare it to Mars and see if you can detect a difference in their tints. If you've got a telescope it's also a good time to see the tilted rings in all their glory. Beyond Saturn the sky was beginning to lighten with approaching dawn. Still, Venus was easy to spot, just a little above the horizon. Its magnitude is actually greater than Jupiter's but it doesn't appear as striking because the sky here isn't as dark. An extra treat was a slender fingernail Moon just to the left of the planet.
But what about elusive Mercury, never far from the Sun and always a challenge to see? I was getting cold, there were some low clouds resting on the eastern hills and a few trees blocked the view as well. So naturally I cheated, using binoculars to scan below the Moon till I found it. Just a tiny shining spec peeking over the clouds. Once located I could see it with just my eyes, but barely. By then hypothermia was setting in so it was back inside to thaw out under the covers for a little bit before chore time. Hope we have clear (and warmer) mornings the next few days so you can catch the show.
* Just can't get out of bed that early? Check out photos here and here.