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TIO: Telluride's Pinhead Institute: Stargazing series

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Telluride's Pinhead Institute: Stargazing series

Chris Crokett In a manner of speaking, Telluride's Pinhead Institute has sky high ambitions. The non-profit's programs latest program designed to promote science literacy is the upcoming Stargazing Series, ahem, starring astronomers from the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, AZ.

It is clear humans have always observed the sky. The roots of astronomy, the natural science that deals with the study of celestial objects – stars, planets, comets, nebulae, star clusters and galaxies –  extend back before written records.

The earliest known records of astronomical observations come from the Sumerian and Babylonian cultures (in what is modern day Iraq), dating back as far back as 3000 B.C. Observation by court-sponsored astronomers led to the first known star maps, the zodiac, and many of the constellations referred to today. During the same epoch, a number of astronomical monuments, including Stonehenge, were being constructed around what is now Great Britain, likely as calendar devices. Egyptian astronomers also catalogued and mapped, using stars as reference points to align construction projects such as the Great Pyramids. Some Greek "natural philosophers" made detailed measurements and guesses about the structure of space. Others of our ancestors found great meaning in the motions of the heavens, attributing the dance of the stars to their gods and heroes.

On Monday, July 18, Christopher Crockett presents "An Introduction to the Night Sky." The presentation, at The Peaks Resort & Spa, begins at 7:30 p.m. Stargazing starts at 8:45 p.m. If you've ever stood in awe under the canopy of stars and wanted to better understand its secrets, then you don't want to miss this exciting evening. Learn how to find the North Star, navigate the Zodiac, and interpret the nightly movement of the heavens.

Christopher is a UCLA graduate student conducting research at Lowell Observatory on the birth and evolution of planetary systems in our galaxy. By looking for planets orbiting very young stars near our sun, he hopes to shed some light so to speak on where and how planets form. He is also passionate about science education and can frequently be seen standing on a sidewalk in downtown Flagstaff with a telescope and accosting passers-by with views of Jupiter.

Want to learn more about the first in Pinhead's Stargazing Series? Click the "play" button and listen to Christopher's interview.

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