Mark Raney, here with a friend, presents Pueblo astronomy at 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 18, at the Los Alamos Nature Center. Courtesy/PEEC
Kokopelli, an Ancestral Puebloan constellation and cultural icon. Courtesy/PEEC
What did Ancestral Puebloans know about stars? What constellations did they use? What do we have in common?
Mark Raney will answer these questions and more at 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 18, in the Los Alamos Nature Center planetarium. Raney will describe shared religious concepts between the Pueblos and surrounding cultures. This planetarium show will link images of Ancestral Puebloan constellations to the sky of the past and present.
Did you know that many of the identified Ancestral Puebloan constellations came from sites near Los Alamos, such as Mortendad and Painted Caves? Raney identified the cave artworks as depicting the arrangements of stars and planets. He found that the timing of specific ceremonies correlated with stellar positions.
Over the past few years, Raney has taken the Pueblo findings and worked them “backwards” into Mesoamerica, showing a great deal of similarities. During his presentation, Raney will give a brief overview of shared religious concepts between the Pueblos and surrounding cultures, including Mesoamerica. Then, he will share what is commonly known about Pueblo astronomy.
Raney is a real estate appraiser from Albuquerque. His love for cultural astronomy began when he spent three years traveling around the world as a young man. It was again reignited when walking up to Mortendad Cave near Los Alamos in the late 1990s and recognizing much of the artwork as possibly being constellations. Since that time, many a weekend has been devoted to southwest studies; be it travel or books.
This event is $6 for adults and $4 for children. Tickets are available by calling or stopping by the nature center. Seating is limited. Planetarium shows are suitable for ages four and up. For more information about this and other PEEC programs, visit www.peecnature.org, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 505.662.0460.
PEEC was founded in 2000 to serve the community of Los Alamos. It offers people of all ages a way to enrich their lives by strengthening their connections to our canyons, mesas, mountains, and skies. PEEC operates the Los Alamos Nature Center at 2600 Canyon Road, holds regular programs and events, and hosts a number of interest groups from birding to hiking to butterfly watching. PEEC activities are open to everyone; however, members receive exclusive benefits such as discounts on programs and merchandise. Annual memberships start at $35. To learn more, visit www.peecnature.org.