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JUST HEAVENLY: Contemporary & Ancient Astronomy

  • 12 Oct 2019
  • 8:30 AM - 4:00 PM
  • Happy Jack

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A visit to the Discovery Channel Telescope & the Nuvakwewtaqa Pueblo’s Solar Calendar

This is a Members-Only carpool trip limited to 12 individuals. There will be a Wait-List if it fills.

On high mesas in Coconino County sit instruments for understanding the sky above us. Separated by about 40 miles and six to ten centuries, each can tell us something about the cultures which created them, and their ways of understanding what lay beyond and above their horizons>

Join us for this very unique opportunity to tour each of these limited-access sites—the Discovery Channel Telescope, which is not open to the general public; and the Nuvakwewtaqa Pueblo (Chavez Pass Ruins), which, although an ancient 1,000 room village, is a protected and much-respected remote location>

Our day begins with a tour of the Discovery Channel Telescope, by the facility’s manager, Tenzie Pugh. We will see the seven story high, 4.3 meter state-of-the-art instrument, which is owned and operated by Lowell Observatory. The unique grouping of equipment at this site enables their astronomers to perform cutting-edge research on a variety of topics, ranging from asteroids and comets to extra-solar planets, and the evolution of stars and galaxies.

From this location, we then caravan about 40 miles along forest roads to the Nuvakwewtaqa Pueblo, a substantial 1,000+ room residence and trading center of the Sinagua People, who occupied it from around 1050 to 1425.  It is on a mesa not far from the Little Colorado River, and was an early pathway for the exchange of ideas, trade goods and migration for over 400 years.

Our guide, Richard McGaugh is a scholar of this pueblo, having worked for a decade on a ranch surrounding the site. He is a Docent at the Museum of Northern Arizona and our Verde Valley Archaeology Center. He also volunteers as an Interpretive Ranger at Walnut Canyon.

We will take a lunch break before ascending the mesa. Richard will lead us (slowly) up the 500 foot ascent to the pueblo site and another ½ mile further to the solar calendar and other petroglyph.

This hike moderately strenuous, along minimal to no trails. Be prepared with fluids, lunch/snacks, good shoes, hat, hiking stick, sunscreen and other supplies important to keep you healthy.

NO CANCELLATIONS. IF YOU CANNOT MAKE IT YOUR SPACE WILL HAVE TO BE FILLED FROM THE WAITLIST TO RECEIVE A REFUND, OTHERWISE NO REFUND SINCE WE HAVE DEPOSITS TO HONOR.

Location: Meet at the Happy Jack Ranger Station, County Road 3/Lake Mary Road, about 40 miles southeast of Flagstaff, near mile marker 307, on the west side of the road. It is about ½ mile south of the Discovery Channel Telescope’s (unmarked) entrance road.