Ranch Logo THE RANCH
(THE ORIGINAL RANCH)
LAKEWOOD, NEW MEXICO
Escapees Logo

The Night Sky at The Ranch

Active Galaxy
An Active Galaxy

One of the most pleasant natural experiences at The Ranch is the chance to observe the night sky.  Being on the desert away from city lights allows us to see some the more faint objects in the sky and our galaxy, the Milky Way, stands out clearly.  We have added monthly sky maps to aid you in the identification of other elements of the night sky to increase your enjoyment.

The following sky maps are for stars of magnitude 5.5 or brighter on the 15th of each month at 9 pm.  If you desire a map for a different day or time, you can obtain them online at several Websites such as SkyMaps.Com or Your Sky.  Click on the thumbnail image below to enlarge then use your back button to return.


January

February

March

April

May

June 

July

August

September

October

November

December

Planets

The sky maps include the locations of the planets.  Check out information about the planets by clicking here.

Nebulae

Originally, the word "nebula" referred to almost any extended astronomical object (other than planets and comets). The etymological root of "nebula" means "cloud". As is usual in astronomy, the old terminology survives in modern usage in sometimes confusing ways. We sometimes use the word "nebula" to refer to galaxies, various types of star clusters and various kinds of interstellar dust/gas clouds. More strictly speaking, the word "nebula" should be reserved for gas and dust clouds and not for groups of stars.

Take a look at some nebulae to be found in our sky by clicking here.

The Constellations

You need to remember that the Constellations are not real.  They are totally imaginary things that poets, farmers and astronomers have made up over the past 6,000 years and probably even more!  Constellations have been documented in many different forms, such as pottery, coins, and other items dating back to 4000 B.C.  The Greek poet Aratus of Soli gave a verse description of 44 constellations in his Phaenomena.  The Greek astronomer and mathematician Ptolemy, in his Almagest, described 48 constellations, of which 47 are known today by the same name.


Eye Nebula

Mars


Orion Nebula

The real purpose for the constellations is to help us tell which stars are which, nothing more.  On a really dark night, you can see about 1000 to 1500 stars.  Trying to tell which is which is hard.  The constellations help by breaking up the sky into more manageable bits.  They are used as mnemonics, or memory aids.  For example, if you spot three bright stars in a row in the winter evening, you might realize, "Oh! That's part of Orion!" Suddenly, the rest of the constellation falls into place and you can declare:  "There's Betelgeuse in Orion's left shoulder and Rigel is his foot."  And once you recognize Orion, you can remember that Orion's Hunting Dogs are always nearby.  Then you might recognize the two bright stars in the upper and lower left of the photograph as Procyon in Canis Minor and Sirius in Canis Major, respectively.

The constellations have changed over time.  In our modern world, many of the constellations have been redefined so now every star in the sky is in exactly one constellation.  In 1929, the International Astronomical Union (IAU) adopted official constellation boundaries that defined the 88 official constellations that exist today.

Alphabetical listing of constellations

The following is an alphabetical listing of the 88 constellations in our sky along with their abbreviations.  Click here for more information on the constellations.

Andromeda
And
Antlia
Ant
Apus
Aps
Aquarius
Aqr
Aquila
Aql
Ara
Ara
Aries
Ari
Auriga
Aur
tes
Boo
Caelum
Cae
Camelopardalis
Cam
Cancer
Cnc
"Canes Venatici
CVn
Canis Major
CMa
Canis Minor
CMi
Capricornus
Cap
Carina
Car
Cassiopeia
Cas
Centaurus
Cen
Cepheus
Cep
Cetus
Cet
Chamaeleon
Cha
Circinus
Cir
Columba
Col
Coma Berenices
Com
Corona Austrina
CrA
Corona Borealis
CrB
Corvus
Crv
Crater
Crt
Crux
Cru
Cugnus
Cyg
Delphinus
Del
Dorado
Dor
Draco
Dra
Equuelus
Equ
Eridanus
Eri
Fornax
For
Gemini
Gem
Grus
Gru
Hercules
Her
Horologium
Hor
Hydra
Hya
Hydrus
Hyi
Indus
Ind
Lacerta
Lac
Leo
Leo
Leo Minor
LMi
Lepus
Lep
Libra
Lib
Lupus
Lup
Lynx
Lyn
Lyra
Lyr
Mensa
Men
Micoscopium
Mic
Monoceros
Mon
Musca
Mus
Norma
Nor
Octans
Oct
Ophiuchus
Oph
Orion
Ori
Pavo
Pav
Pegasus
Peg
Perseus
Per
Phoenix
Phe
Pictor
Pic
Pisces
Psc
Piscis Austrinus
PsA
Puppis
Pup
Pyxis
Pyx
Reticulum
Ret
Sagitta
Sge
Sagittarius
Sgr
Scorpius
Sco
Sculptor
Scl
Scutum
Sct
Serpens
Ser
Sextans
Sex
Taurus
Tau
Telescopium
Tel
Triangulum
Tri
Triangulum Australe
TrA
Tucana
Tuc
Ursa Major
UMa
Ursa Minor
UMi
Vela
Vel
Virgo
Vir
Volans
Vol
Velpecula
Vul

Barrbed Wire

THE RANCH
SKP Co-op Retreat of New Mexico, Inc.
P.O. Box 109
Lakewood, New Mexico 88254
Phone 575-457-2303 & FAX 575-457-2100
email: skpranch@pvtn.net