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Southeast New Mexico Stargazing: Constellations, Planetariums, and Merit Badges

Southeast New Mexico offers a prime opportunity for earning STEM-focused merit badges.


ScoutsBSA offers engaging opportunities for scouts to explore the wonders of the cosmos through stargazing and planetarium visits. Merit badges in Astronomy and Space Exploration allow Scouts to delve into celestial phenomena, learn about constellations, and understand the mechanics of our solar system and beyond. Through hands-on activities and guided observation, Scouts develop skills in navigation, telescope use, and astronomical observation.


Visits to planetariums provide immersive experiences, enhancing their understanding of astronomy and inspiring curiosity about the universe. These merit badges will foster a love for science and exploration as well as encourage Scouts to appreciate the beauty and complexity of the night sky.


mom looking through telescope
Here are some notable constellations visible in the region and local planetariums where you can deepen your understanding of the cosmos: 

Constellations: Southeast New Mexico's clear night skies provide excellent visibility for observing various constellations throughout the year. Some prominent constellations visible from this region include:

  • Orion: Known for its distinctive "belt" of three bright stars, Orion is a prominent winter constellation in the southeastern sky. Look for the Orion Nebula, a stellar nursery visible within the constellation. 

  • Taurus: Located near Orion, Taurus features the bright star Aldebaran and the famous star cluster known as the Pleiades or Seven Sisters. 

  • Canis Major and Canis Minor: These constellations feature the bright stars Sirius (the brightest star in the night sky) and Procyon, respectively. 

  • Scorpius: In the southern sky during the summer months, Scorpius is recognizable for its "hook-shaped" constellation pattern, with the bright red star Antares marking the scorpion's heart. 


Local Planetariums: 

  • Goddard Planetarium at Roswell Museum and Art Center (Roswell, NM): The Roswell Museum and Art Center offers a planetarium that hosts educational programs, star shows, and astronomy-related events. Visitors can explore the night sky and learn about celestial phenomena in a comfortable indoor setting. 

  • New Mexico Museum of Space History (Alamogordo, NM): While not in Southeast New Mexico, the New Mexico Museum of Space History in Alamogordo is worth mentioning for its exceptional planetarium and astronomy exhibits. The museum's planetarium features immersive shows that explore topics such as space exploration, the solar system, and the universe's wonders. 

  • New Mexico State University (Las Cruces, NM): Although Las Cruces is not in Southeast New Mexico, New Mexico State University offers public stargazing events and educational programs at its campus observatory. Visitors can observe celestial objects through telescopes and learn from knowledgeable astronomers. 


stargazing

Exploring the night sky in Southeast New Mexico offers a chance to marvel at the wonders of the universe and gain a deeper appreciation for our place in the cosmos. Whether observing constellations from a remote dark-sky location or attending a planetarium show, stargazing enthusiasts have plenty of opportunities to engage with astronomy in this region.


Earn your 2024 Solar Eclipse Merit Badge TOMORROW!



 

 

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