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“The Pleiades – M-45” to be held Saturday at Discovery Park Campus

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“The Pleiades – M-45” to be held Saturday at Discovery Park Campus

By Jeanné Clark

THATCHER, AZ—Eastern Arizona College’s Discovery Park Campus, in partnership with the Desert Sky Gazers Amateur Astronomy Club, will present a free, family-friendly lecture and slideshow entitled “The Pleiades – M-45” at 6:30 p.m. in the Jupiter Room on March 7. This presentation will be made by Desert Sky Gazers member Tracy Beuden. As a special addition, Tracy’s children have agreed to participate by reading a poem about the Pleiades.

“The Pleiades, also called the Seven Sisters, is one of the nearest open star clusters and is, therefore, readily visible for much of the year. Its closeness made it an object of special attention by many cultures. For example, the Hopi people used the passage of the Pleiades across the roof opening to their underground, ceremonial kivas as a signal to begin rituals and celebrations,” says Harry Swanson, dean of Discovery Park Campus.

“Further north, the Lakota and Kiowa both have similar myths about seven maidens who were chased by angry or hungry bears. The maidens prayed for rescue, causing the ground to rise up under them. The frustrated bears attempted to claw and climb their way up the tower of land just created, but all they managed to do was leave claw marks. That geologic feature, called Devil’s Tower, is in Wyoming and was a feature of the popular movie Close Encounters of the Third Kind,” continues Swanson. “In Turkey, the M-45 is called Surayya, and it was used to determine a young man’s entry into adulthood; once he could see seven stars, he was thereafter treated as an adult and was expected to act like one.”

For more information about this event or Discovery Park Campus, contact Swanson at 428-6260.