Alley Mill Closed for Renovations
The Alley Mill will be undergoing renovations much of summer of 2014. It will be open daily through Aug 17 and then only on weekends after that. There will be fencing around the Mill which will prevent close access. More »
Lightscape / Night Sky
By Becki Bulls, Park Ranger
Constellations are really just pictures in the sky using some of the brighter stars, kind of like “connect the dots.” To help you find your way around the night sky, there are some stars you can use to “point” to other constellations.
First find the Big Dipper. The two stars in the “bowl” point to Polaris, the North Star. Polaris is the last star in the “handle” of the Little Dipper. Now, follow the arc of the Big Dipper’s “handle” and “arc” your way to Arcturus, and “speed on” to Spica. Arcturus is at the bottom of the constellation Bootes the Bear Driver, which looks like an ice cream cone. Spica is the brightest star in the constellation Virgo the Maiden of Harvest, which looks like the letter “Y.”
Look directly overhead and find the three brightest stars. They form the Summer Triangle and each star has its own constellation. Deneb is the head of Cygnus the Swan, also known as the Northern Cross. Vega is part of the parallelogram shaped Lyra the Harp. And Altair forms the “diamond” shaped Aquila the Eagle.
By using the “star pointer” technique, and some imagination, you should be able to locate many constellations. If you see a really bright star that seems out of place, it is probably a planet.
Did You Know?
Cane brakes are thick stands of rivercane, which is much like bamboo. The endangered Swainson's Warbler nests in these thickets. Many stands have been lost to reservoir impoundments throughout the South, but many stands are protected at Ozark National Scenic Riverways. More at www.nps.gov/ozar More...