Night Sky Watching at Kissimmee Prairie, by Bill Nigg
Kissimmee Prairie Night Sky ©Judd Patterson
When you come out to Kissimmee Prairie Preserve to observe nature you are not limited to one planet. The dark night sky is one of our natural resources and allows observers to see the nature of the whole universe. Most constellations can be remembered when all the dim stars make a picture of ancient or mythological characters. These stories add fascination to the beauty of a dark sky view. Ancient observers had no city lights to interfere. As their culture developed they created legends—the Big Dipper is an ox cart in China; a funeral procession to plains Indians; a useful kitchen tool to Europeans. Modern astronomy is international. Latin names and mapped areas now define the 88 constellations such as URSA MAJOR which includes the big dipper and contributes to the picture of the great bear when all the dim stars near it are visible.
Our guest blog author, Bill Nigg, spends his winters in Florida—telescope observing on every clear night from state and national parks far away from city lights. He recently retired from 13 years of teaching college astronomy and a daytime career servicing physics lab instruments. Bill is an honorary lifetime member of the Kalamazoo (MI) Astronomical Society. He always invites nearby campers to view interesting space objects through his telescope and will explain how it fits into the Nature of the Universe. www.kasonline.org/profiles/nigg.html
Useful link for stargazers: Kissimmee Prairie Preserve Clear Sky Chart
Friends of Kissimmee Prairie Preserve
Random thoughts on and pictures of Kissimmee Prairie Preserve.