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Moab UT (at City Hall)
38O34’ N Latitude 109O33’ W Longitude
4048 ft - 1234 m

DARK SKY HAPPENINGS - May 2018

Moab Dark Skies mission is to promote the appreciation and conservation of Moab’s valuable and rare dark skies.
The Moab Dark Skies was established by the Friends of Arches and Canyonlands Parks in conjunction with the National Park Service and Utah State Parks Division of Natural Resources.



Native Night Sky

Sunrise-Sunset
for May

(The time of sunrise and sunset assumes a flat horizon. Actual time may vary depending upon the landscape.)

Date

Sunrise

Sunset

1

6:20 am

8:10 pm

2

6:19 am

8:11 pm

3

6:18 am

8:12 pm

4

6:17 am

8:13 pm

5

6:16 am

8:13 pm

6

6:15 am

8:14 pm

7

6:14 am

8:15 pm

8

6:13 am

8:16 pm

9

6:12 am

8:17 pm

10

6:11 am

8:18 pm

11

6:10 am

8:19 pm

12

6:09 am

8:20 pm

13

6:08 am

8:21 pm

14

6:07 am

8:22 pm

15

6:06 am

8:23 pm

16

6:05 am

8:24 pm

17

6:04 am

8:24 pm

18

6:03 am

8:25 pm

19

6:03 am

8:26 pm

20

6:02 am

8:27 pm

21

6:01 am

8:28 pm

22

6:01 am

8:29 pm

23

6:00 am

8:30 pm

24

5:59 am

8:30 pm

25

5:59 am

8:31 pm

26

5:58 am

8:32 pm

27

5:57 am

8:33 pm

28

5:57 am

8:33 pm

29

5:56 am

8:34 pm

30

5:56 am

8:35 pm

31

5:56 am

8:36 pm

When many of us look up in the Northern sky, we are familiar with the Big Dipper, the Little Dipper, and the big “W” of Cassiopeia. Though technically the first two are asterisms (groups of stars that are easily recognized but are part of some other true constellation), all three groups are known as circumpolar. This means they are visible at some point in the night, any night of the year, for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere.

Here in the desert Southwest, amongst our Navajo neighbors, these groups of stars play a special role. The stars of the Big Dipper are known as the “Male Revolving One”. He is a father figure, and all that represents. A provider, he hunts food for his family. A protector also, he watches over the hogan (a traditional Navajo home) and his family to keep them safe.

The stars of Cassiopeia are known as the “Female Revolving One”. She is the motherly counterpart to the Male Revolving One. Also a provider, she brings life into the world and feeds her children from the abundance found around her. A protector, she watches over her family, comforting and treating them when sick or hurt.

The end star in the handle of our Little Dipper is named Polaris, or the North Star. It is almost directly aligned with the earth’s axis, which results in the appearance of all other stars revolving around it. This effect was not lost on the Navajo. They called this grouping around Polaris “The Hearth” and it represents the fire in the center of the hogan. Family life revolves around this fire. It is where meals are cooked and eaten. It brings light to the darkness and warmth to break the caress of a cold wind. Around this fire stories are passed from one generation to the next on long winter nights.

Next time you find yourself enjoying Southeast Utah’s dark night skies, perhaps you’ll think of our Navajo neighbors and what the stars mean to them.

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