With the conclusion of 2016 comes the end of two Indiana Bicentennial Legacy Projects that encouraged people to celebrate the state's 200th birthday by observing the sun and stars. Thanks to all who kindly acted on Indiana Bicentennial Star and Anniversary Solargraph, whether with curious whimsy or outright zeal. Half of all history has occurred between sunset and sunrise, so it is fitting to recognize the value of night.
First, Scheat is a corner star in the Great Square of Pegasus, depicted as the star atop the torch and under the name Indiana in this modification of the state flag. Relatively nearby in our Milky Way Galaxy, the Bicentennial Star is conveniently about 200 light years away.
A second astronomy-related Indiana Bicentennial Legacy Project was Anniversary Solargraph, in which pinhole cameras made from aluminum cans, duct tape, and photographic paper captured the essence of time--the path of the sun across the sky between the solstices. Solargraph cans stood as sentries at multiple sites, bearing witness to the passage of time while taking a long-duration snapshot of time and place in this 200th anniversary.
A collection of solargraph images in 2016 have ignited a plan to place more solargraphs around the community. Contact me soon if you want to participate, before we get far past the December solstice.
Thanks go to Indiana Bicentennial celebrants who advocated for looking up to witness wonders of the firmament. Astronomy colleagues, solargraph hosts, bicentennial organizers, and family have been greatly supportive in 2016. A further nod goes to friends who have worn their support outright, like Donnie and Andrea Rogers, shown here sporting their Indiana Bicentennial Star buttons. I appreciate your riding this train.