18 May 2015

The CARNIVAL OF SPACE # 406 @ LINKS THROUGH SPACE



Welcome to Links Through Space. Astronomy for everyone.
This is the blog of our Astronomy Club Toutatis here in Kustavi, Finland
We write/post news about space related topics and
we showcase our Astrophotos and Timelapses.

Our blog is a way for you to follow Space/Astronomy news and find new links through the Internet about Space and astronomy.
So here we have it, Ladies and Gentlemen!
The Carnival of Space # 406 @ Links Through Space. 

Globular Cluster 47 Tucanae
Credit: Hubble Space telescope. Nasa/ESA

A look at Hubble Space Telescope's latest releases.

The Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles.
Credit: Carolyn Collins Petersen.
Wishing the venerable Griffith Observatory a happy 80th birthday!
We went to Los Angeles last weekend to celebrate the 80th birthday of the venerable Griffith Observatory.

X-Ray map of Galaxy Abell 1033.
Credit: Chandra/ VLA.
Observations of Abell 1033 galaxy cluster shows radiation known as phoenix type, with its origin in a collision between cluster members. The article is written in Spanish.


2D Flat Spheroid Galaxy.
Credit: Astrophysical Journal - Hidig in Plain Sight:
An Abundance of Compact Massive Spheroids in the Local Universe.
When researchers took a closer look at surveys of galaxies in the local universe, they found many had been mischaracterised. More careful analysis of images revealed that 21 galaxies that originally looked like big 3D clouds of stars – "giant elliptical galaxies" – were actually flat 2D disc galaxies with bulges in the middle.
 Read article on The Universe is fullof rogue stars, rogue planets and galaxies that were tough for  oldertelescopes to see.

Janne Leppäkoski & Patrick Innocent
@ Sahara Sky.
Credit: S. Lamoureux/ KTY Toutatis 
Check us out at Links through Space. Our new post and follow our Astronomy Club’s travel post series on our Astronomy trip to the Sahara, Southern Morocco and enjoy the astronomy behind it. This week it’s all about Stargazing in one of the darkest night sky in the world! 
 Read the Post on Stargazing in one of the best night sky in the World. The Sahara Observatory.

So here you have it!
All the thrills and excitements of the Astronomy/Space community this week.
The Carnival of Space #406

If you run a space/astronomy related blog, and would like to get more awareness, participate in the Carnival of Space. Every week, a different webmaster or blogger hosts the carnival, showcasing articles written on the topic of space. It’s a great way to get to know the community, and to help your writing reach a wider audience. If you’d like to be a host for the carnival, please send email to carnivalofspace@gmail.com.
Carnival of Space photo: Credit: Jason Major

22 April 2015

PARK-ASTRONOMY TURKU APRIL 2015 EVENT. What a hoot!


PUISTO_ASTRONOMIA TURKU 21.04.2015.
Astronomy Public Outreach event in Turku, Finland.
Observation of the Moon and Venus.

PUISTO-ASTRONOMIA TURKU (Means in Finish PARK-ASTRONOMY TURKU) was part of the Astronomers Without Borders's Global Astronomy Month. On Tuesday 21.04.2015 we gathered at Puolalanpuisto (Parc Puolalan) in the city center of Turku, Finland. We invited people to come and have a glimpse of the crescent Moon and the half lid Venus in the telescope.

The event was centered on the eclipsing of the bright star Aldebaran behind the Moon. The Moon was still in daylight when the star "entered" behind the Moon from the left. In fact, it was the Moon that moved to the left and rejoined the star in the background. At 20 o clock it slipped behind the Moon to come out again 1 hour later on the low right side of the crescent Moon. It was really cool!

The Moon with the star Aldebaran on it's eclipse day 21.04.2015.
Credit: Sakari Ekko
A part from that the children who came could see the Moon in the telescope. Easy and big impact observing for kids. With their smiles and all, I guess they liked it. We looked at Venus also and spoke about how Venus has its phases just as the Moon has.

The next Astronomy Public Outreach PARK-ASTRONOMY TURKU is not decided yet, but after this response and high attendance of the public, we will surely organise an event in turku again.
Thank you to all who participated and hope we had a great time.


Here are some pictures of the event.


PARK-ASTRONOMY TURKU APRIL 2015
Credit: Kerttu



The Moon with the star Aldebaran.
Credit: S. Lamoureux/KTY Toutatis Kustavi Finland

Iphone astrophotography! Its a start.
Credit: Sakari Ekko


All photo none credited are credited: S. Lamoureux/KTY Toutatis Kustavi Finland.

Thanks to AWS and its Global Astronomy Month Events.


07 April 2015

New Horizons Space Mission to Pluto. This summer's hit!


photo credit: Artist’s concept of NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft
as it passes Pluto and Pluto’s largest moon, Charon, in July 2015.
NASA/JHU APL/SwRI/Steve Gribben 
Who is excited about the New Horizons space mission to Pluto?

New Horizons is a NASA space probe launched to study the dwarf planet Pluto, its moons and one or two other Kuiper belt objects, depending on which are in position to be explored.

Part of the New Frontiers program, the mission was approved in 2001 after cancellation of Pluto Fast Flyby and Pluto Kuiper Express.

The mission profile was proposed by a team led by principal investigator Alan Stern of Southwest Research Institute.

Follow its arrival to Pluto in July 2015. This summer will be all about new frontieres and the dwarf planet Pluto and its moons.

Here are some links to get you started.



.

05 April 2015

Photo Montage X: Happy Easter!



Happy Easter! Remember to do something with your family. I took mine stargazing! :)


29 March 2015

The Solar Eclipse 20.03.2015. Photos of our Public Outreach activity in Turku, Finland.


20.03.2015 Solar eclipse viewed from Turku, Finland.
Credit: Sakari Ekko
On March 20th, we invited family and friends to come and look at the Solar eclipse. It was part of our Astronomy club's Public Outreach in Astronomy. This partial eclipse was of 84% of totality where we stood at the peak of an high hill in downtown Turku, Finland. It was fairly clouded and misty I would say (judging by the quality of the pictures we got).

But never the less, lots of people came. We had 2 telescope (middle range) to show a larger scale of the eclipse. We had also a couple of pinhole solar projection boxes to look through not directly at the Sun and we had many Sun filter glasses, filtered-binoculars and welder glasses as well.  Plenty to go around, people could  look through all the instrument to catch a glimpse of the Solar eclipse.

Here are photos of our Public Outreach activity on March 20th, 2015. Thank you to all the participants. I hope you liked the event and enjoyed the astronomy behind it!
All pictures credited to S. Lamoureux/ KTY Toutatis or else mentionned.
Please click on the pictures to enlarge!

Group photo of the participants. Solar eclipse 20.03.2015.
Credit: S. Lamoureux/ KTY Toutatis.













27 March 2015

Culturally speaking! Local culture in our Astronomy trip to the Sahara, Southern Morocco.


On my latest astronomy trip to the Sahara in Southern Morocco, I met with many enthusiast people in astronomy. I had a blast doing many activities related to astronomy as Meteorite hunting, astrophotographying the night sky and learning much of astronomy in general at this fabulous hotel/observatory called Sahara Sky. 10 days of meteorite hunting, astronomy learning and stargazing in the Sahara was incredible and just unforgettable. Please join me in a series of posts on my journey through the Sahara in Southern Morocco and one of the most dark skies places I have ever seen.

Me and our guide @ Tamegroute village
Credit: S. Lamoureux
This is a short post on the cultural side of the region I visited while I was there. The town of Tamegroute 15 kilometers away from our location in the Sahara desert was having it's market day. From fruits to spices and donkey sales, the people where bustling. Our guide was the great great grand son of a very old pottery family. The oldest in Tamegroute. He invited us for tea in his shop and gave us the grand tour.

Rocks believed to be Meteorite. The dark rock is 3 kg.
Credit: S. Lamoureux/ KTY Toutatis.
His pottery was amazing, old fashion way and old techniques used still today. At the end we discussed of the old rocks that he had laying around in his shop, we argued that they could be meteorites fallen for the sky. They laughed and went along. 20 minutes later a friend of our guide had come with a big bag of supposed meteorites. In a instant this meeting became a meteorite sale and bargain. We changed his shop of pottery to a shop selling meteorites. It was lots of fun and you felt immediately the warmth of the inhabitants.

Another strange, brutal and beautiful event occurred during the time I was in the Sahara desert. The desert floor turned green. Unprecedented rain falls hit the entire Morocco, leading to some destruction and fatalities. This was a catastrophe. In an other hand, the result of this rain fall gave the opportunity to the desert to grow small vegetation on the surface of it's hills and plateau's. It was incredible to see a green desert. It looked almost like a green rug that was laid down on the landscape for miles and miles. It was cool.

The Sahara floor is green and full of vegetation.
Credit: S. Lamoureux
Another interesting thing with the desert is that when you are isolated for many days behind the dunes of the Sahara desert, your return to civilization is brutal. The people seem more beautiful, more nice, more lively. It was a shock to return to Marrakesh after the 10 days I spent in the desert. I really noticed the loneliness and isolation of the Sahara desert. This also was a cultural chock for me this time around.

This is the last of  9 post series on my Astronomy trip to the Sahara, Southern Morocco. If you have missed the posts, you can find the post-series HERE.
Follow the complete travel post series and enjoy the astronomy behind it. This is all part of the public outreach of Astronomy Club Toutatis, Kustavi, Finland.  

Links:
Village of Tamegroute WIKI


.

26 March 2015

Astronomy club of Marrakesh. Where it all happens!


On my latest astronomy trip to the Sahara in Southern Morocco, I met with many enthusiast people in astronomy. I had a blast doing many activities related to astronomy as Meteorite hunting, astrophotographying the night sky and learning much of astronomy in general at this fabulous hotel/observatory called Sahara Sky. 10 days of meteorite hunting, astronomy learning and stargazing in the Sahara was incredible and just unforgettable. Please join me in a series of posts on my journey through the Sahara in Southern Morocco and one of the most dark skies places I have ever seen.

Ali Hafili @ the Cultural Center Atlas Golf of Marrakesh
Behind him is the mighty 600mm
Richtey Chrétien telescope (The Valmeca T600)
Credit: S. Lamoureux/ KTY Toutatis.
On my way to the Sahara desert, I stopped in the beautiful city of Marrakesh for a few days. I booked my self in a hostel and got settled in. I had made an appointment with my contact Ali from the 3 AM Astronomy club (Association d'Astronomie de Marrakesh). We spent the day together visiting the city and spoke about their astronomy projects over there and my astronomy projects over in Finland.

City of Marrakesh
Credit: S. Lamoureux
Mohamed Ali Hafili is working at the Cultural Center Atlas Golf of Marrakesh. A place to see art galleries, exhibitions on fossils and rocks found in Morocco (Meteorites too). With the big telescope installed on the roof top, people can join Ali for observing the planets, the Sun or the Moon (See older post on Ali and 3AM astronomy club HERE). 


Ali was telling me that he had manage many activities with 3AM astronomy club; A trip to the Sahara desert with a group of astronomers, a trip to Oukaimeden Observatory in the Atlas mountains and many observation sessions with young students. A busy year I would say.

The best thing about Ali and his astronomy club is that we have been in contact for 3 years now and we have managed to consult each other on what do we teach and how is the people participating responding. Keeping in touch with other astronomy club's are crucial to the global astronomy outreach. It has been good to have a partner like Ali to show me what is the astronomy globally around the world, especially in Morocco. I have a better understanding of how people today view present astronomy, globally. This is cool.

Koutoubia Mosque @ the heart of Marrakesh.
Credit: S. Lamoureux
The Association of Astronomy of Marrakesh is doing good, Ali says. Always things to do, places to be for another session of astronomy with the kids, he continues. So I guess the astronomy scene in Marrakesh is booming and the people are involved, which is a good sign for astronomy in general.
Ali mentioned that the recent increase in international Astronomy event in Morocco (Tanger, Fes, Oukaimeden, Casablanca, Rabat) helped a lot.

The visit of the astronaut Dr. Mary Ellen Weber in many cities around Morocco and the the 77th Annual Meeting of the Meteoritical Society, that was held in Casablanca, Morocco are a few mentioned that was organized in 2014.

If you are an intrepid traveller and a passionate of Astronomy, you have the pleasure to head for Marrakesh one day, I strongly recommend that you stop by Ali's 3AM astronomy club and observatory and say hello. It has been an unforgettable experience for me, so i guess it could be so for you to.

Please continue reading the next post of my Astronomy trip in the Sahara, Southern Morocco HERE. Follow the complete travel post series and enjoy the astronomy behind it. This is all part of the public outreach of Astronomy Club Toutatis, Kustavi, Finland.

Links:



.

25 March 2015

Long Exposure Pinhole Camera Project @ Sahara Sky observatory


On my latest astronomy trip to the Sahara in Southern Morocco, I met with many enthusiast people in astronomy. I had a blast doing many activities related to astronomy as Meteorite hunting, astrophotographying the night sky and learning much of astronomy in general at this fabulous hotel/observatory called Sahara Sky. 10 days of meteorite hunting, astronomy learning and stargazing in the Sahara was incredible and just unforgettable. Please join me in a series of posts on my journey through the Sahara in Southern Morocco and one of the most dark skies places I have ever seen.

Pinhole camera (Solargraph) project @ Sahara Sky 2014.
photo: Stefan Lamoureux, Fritz Koring, Janne Leppäkoski
Credit: S. Lamoureux/ KTY Toutatis.
The Astronomy club Toutatis wanted to thank the Sahara Sky observatory for it's hospitality with a Pinhole camera called Solargraph that takes long exposure of 6 months. Mr. Fritz Koring, the owner of the Sahara Sky was presented an empty can of beer with tape on it, this was the Pinhole camera. Modest you think? It is exactly that!

The Solargraph. A pinhole camera made to record
the path of the Sun in the sky for a period of 6 months
Credit: S. Lamoureux/ KTY Toutatis.
Now the beer can will be pointing straight South and capture the movement of the Sun for a total of 6 months time. Solargraphy is a technique in which a fixed pinhole camera is used to expose photographic paper for an extremely long amount of time (in this case half a year). It is most often used to show the path taken by the sun across the sky. (See other posts on Solargarphs and pinhole camera HERE)

Now that it is installed, we wait. In June 2015 we will open the camera and see the results. This is actually really cool, because this pictures taken in Southern Morocco will show us if there is a difference in the Sun's curve (Sun's apparent movement in the sky) from my own Solargraph of Finland. This is surely exciting.

Different curvature at different Latitude.
These ones are took from LAT 60"
Credit: S. Lamoureux/KTY Toutatis.

Thank you for Mr. Koring @ Sahara Sky hotel/observatory to participate in this astronomy activity with us @ Astronomy club Toutatis.

Follow the complete travel post series on the Sahara desert, Southern Morocco HERE and enjoy the astronomy behind it. This is all part of the public outreach of Astronomy Club Toutatis, Kustavi, Finland.


Links:


.

24 March 2015

Celestial objects out of my reach, not anymore!


On my latest astronomy trip to the Sahara in Southern Morocco, I met with many enthusiast people in astronomy. I had a blast doing many activities related to astronomy as Meteorite hunting, astrophotographying the night sky and learning much of astronomy in general at this fabulous hotel/observatory called Sahara Sky. 10 days of meteorite hunting, astronomy learning and stargazing in the Sahara was incredible and just unforgettable. Please join me in a series of posts on my journey through the Sahara in Southern Morocco and one of the most dark skies places I have ever seen.

Image credit: "Fornax IAU" by IAU and Sky & Telescope magazine (Roger Sinnott & Rick Fienberg) - [1]. Licensed under CC BY 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons -http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Fornax_IAU.svg#/media/File:Fornax_IAU.svg

A great pleasure of mine while travelling abroad and writing about astronomy is to chase for objects and events we can not see from our observatory in Finland (Northern hemisphere). This time I choose the constellation Fornax and it's many Galaxies. It is literally a furnace of Galaxies.

One of the Galaxies in the constellation of Fornax
Credit: S. Lamoureux/ KTY Toutatis.
The point of all this is to showcase Southern Stars and Southern Constellations that are out of reach from Finland at our Observatory. Report on Southern Constellations that are mostly unknown to Northern hemisphere astronomers.
Fornax is a constellation in the southern sky. Its name is Latin for furnace. It was named by French astronomer Nicolas Louis de Lacaille in 1756. Fornax has been the target of investigations into the furthest reaches of the universe. The Hubble Ultra Deep Field is located within Fornax, and the Fornax Cluster, a small cluster of galaxies, lies primarily within Fornax.

In our observation of the Fornax constellation, we focused to a single galaxy within it. My observation partner Patrick Innocent from Sahara Sky explained that Fornax is the furnace of Galaxies. This Galaxy was one of many Galaxies in this part of the night sky. We also photographed a wide field of the region of Fornax to reveal 15+ Galaxies in the picture. When you look at the single Galaxy picture, you are looking at hundred of billions of stars.

"The most stars that I have shot in 1 photography! :) No wait!
I have also this wide field picture of the 15+ Galaxies. So this photo, really, we are looking at 15 times hundreds of billions of stars. That is far out!
I would say that this is the most stars that I have photographed in 1 picture."

Wide field photo of the Galaxies in Fornax.
Notice the green dots showing the Galaxies.
Credit: S. Lamoureux/ KTY Toutatis. 
The Constellation of Fornax opened my eyes to the vastness of the Universe, with all it's Galaxies grouped together it is an incredible site in the night sky.











Please continue reading the next post of my Astronomy trip in the Sahara, Southern Morocco HERE. Follow the complete travel post series and enjoy the astronomy behind it. This is all part of the public outreach of Astronomy Club Toutatis, Kustavi, Finland.





23 March 2015

Stargazing in one of the best night sky in the World. The Sahara Sky observatory


On my latest astronomy trip to the Sahara in Southern Morocco, I met with many enthusiast people in astronomy. I had a blast doing many activities related to astronomy as Meteorite hunting, astrophotographying the night sky and learning much of astronomy in general at this fabulous hotel/observatory called Sahara Sky. 10 days of meteorite hunting, astronomy learning and stargazing in the Sahara was incredible and just unforgettable. Please join me in a series of posts on my journey through the Sahara in Southern Morocco and one of the most dark skies places I have ever seen.

Me @ the Sahara Sky hotel/ observatory with a telescope.
Credit: S. Lamoureux/ KTY Toutatis.
Stargazing is a lot of fun, but at Sahara Sky hotel/observatory stargazing is ecstatic! You find a large roof terrace that holds beach chairs to lay on to enjoy the stars without straining your neck. A part from the excellent telescopes and mounts, the fact that you can be on the terrace and simply look with your own two eyes is just amazing. The environment around the hotel is also exceptional with it's low horizon view of the night sky. It is just amazing the quality of dark sky you find there. The desert climate gives almost guarantee cloud free sky, in fact on my 10 days journey only 1 night was partially clouded.

my friend Janne Leppäkoski and Sahara Sky
observatory guru Patrick Innocent.
Stargazing is all about looking at special events occurring in the night sky. For example in this astro-trip I starred at the Geminids meteor shower and saw many shooting stars. We had a look at Jupiter and the Galilean moons having a celestial dance in the telescope eyepiece. In the morning after a typical Moroccan breakfast, we look at the Sun and it's sunspots and prominences on it's surface. One of my favorite ”workshop” of this trip was to take videos using a CCD camera of the sunspots and extract a picture from it. Night after night I stargazed at the stars and had a sense of unity with the Universe. I enjoyed a lot to look at Venus also, this gave me a new perspective of the planet and see why it is so prominent in the sky at dawn and dusk (depending of it's place in it's cycle).

One of the best thing you could find at Sahara Sky is the resident astronomer that works for the hotel/observatory. His mane is Patrick Innocent and is an astronomer that has many years of experience in astronomy. His passion and enthusiasm defied gravity, I loved every minute of it. With him we watch the night sky, sometimes in the night he would shoot from the other side of the roof terrace: ”Come have a look at something you will probably never see again in your life time”. His knowledge of the universe is so large, he knew everything and if he didn't know, you can be sure the next day/night, he would have the answer. It was just relaxing to have a ”personnal” astronomer to talk to and engage in for everything astronomy. I learned a big deal from him and the best part was to be able to stargaze and do astronomy with a friend and a guru of astronomy.

Sun spot through CCD camera. Early morning session
with Patrick Innocent.
Credit: Patrick Innocent/ KTY Toutatis.
I headed into this adventure knowing what I wanted to do. I was prepared and had a solid plan to execute from. But the end result was so much better that what i was expecting. It broke all my expectation and it was great. I really recommend this place. It has everything an amateur astronomer (or professional astronomer) look forward to. Simply awesome!





Please continue reading the next post of my Astronomy trip in the Sahara, Southern Morocco HERE. Follow the complete travel post series and enjoy the astronomy behind it. This is all part of the public outreach of Astronomy Club Toutatis, Kustavi, Finland.



Links:

.

22 March 2015

Archeoastronomy: 5000 years old PETROGLYPHS site @ Ait Ouazik, Southern Morocco


On my latest astronomy trip to the Sahara in Southern Morocco, I met with many enthusiast people in astronomy. I had a blast doing many activities related to astronomy as Meteorite hunting, astrophotographying the night sky and learning much of astronomy in general at this fabulous hotel/observatory called Sahara Sky. 10 days of meteorite hunting, astronomy learning and stargazing in the Sahara was incredible and just unforgettable. Please join me in a series of posts on my journey through the Sahara in Southern Morocco and one of the most dark skies places I have ever seen.

Petroglyph site @ Ait Ouazik, Southern Morocco.
Credit: S. Lamoureux/KTY Toutatis.

On the first day of our Meteorite hunt (See article of Meteorite hunting in the Sahara), we headed early into the morning to visit a sight where petroglyphs are found. Petroglyphs are carvings on stone left by ancient people. On these particular stones, you found petroglyphs of animal of the region at that time, strange interlace lines of some sort, circles of what experts say are depictions of traps used by those people to hunt prey. The site is called Ait Ouazik near the village of Ait Ouazik in the valley of Draa, Southern Morocco.

Petroglyphs of zoo morphs (Emu, Gazelle) @ Ait Ouazik
Credit: S. Lamoureux/KTY Toutatis.
The site is on a tumulus of early settlement thought to be more or less 5000 years old. A tumulus is a burial site where human bones have been found and is an indication of old settlement. This is important because we can differentiate humans that were sedentary and humans that were nomads. On this site, you find petroglyphs zoo morphs; Gazelles, Elephants, Emu (or Ostrich), monkeys. Interlaced lines that are representative of nets for hunting, animal traps depictions experts says, Checked board games carvings (also found in other sites through out the World), Tazina style petroglyphs and also pecked petroglyph of geometric forms.

Tazina style of petroglyphs are a style of carving that elongates the lines that forms the image. In the other hand, the term pecked petroglyph is referred to as the technique used by carving small dots on the rock next to each other to form a line on the rock.

Petroglyph of Circle with ball headed lines @Ait Ouazik
To me this represents a celestial calendar,
perhaps a Venus calendar.
Credit: S. Lamoureux/KTY Toutatis.
This petroglyph site at Ait Ouazik is very interesting, because it makes you think; Who were these people living here? Ancestors to the Berber people of the region today perhaps? Why carvings of animal of the savanna? Was the landscape different 5000 years ago in the arid Sahara of today? These blue print of interlace lines and traps were they really blue prints for next generation people to look and learn from? All valid questions. But the most pertinent question to me was ”Is there a connection with astronomy?”. Its seems to me that they have a connection.

By walking around the Ait Ouazik site, one carving caught my attention. This carving on the rock had a circle with 23 lines inside of it, converging to the middle of the circle. Of these 23 lines, 13 had lines with ball-shape carvings on top of the line. The remaining 10 lines were only lines converging to the center of the circle. 

Petroglyph site of Ait Ouazik, Southern Morocco.
See the vast landscape suitable for settlement.
Credit: S. Lamoureux/KTY Toutatis. 
This carving had me thinking that it may be some sort of calendar, especially a celestial calendar perhaps following the Sun, the Moon or even the Planet Venus.
First of all, the Tumulus (Burial mount) indicates to me that these people were sedentary people, they stayed put for agricultural purposes. Also on the site we find erected stones that indicate a way for early people to mark the passage of time by observing the Summer/Winter solstices or Spring/Fall equinoxes.

You have at least 7 other petroglyph sites in the Valley of Draa alone that have this petroglyph circle with lines. Experts as Huard, Leclant and Searight have identify them as depiction of traps to hunt animals, or bag-traps (in french: nasses). I have my doubts.

5000 years old Petroglyphs. What is it? What does is represent?
Credit: S. Lamoureux/KTY Toutatis. 
As an astronomer I think there is something else to this carving, something overlooked, something connecting it to the heavens. To find this carving in 7 different sites relatively close to each other, awakes in me questions of why so many same depiction of the same circle? How many depiction of traps can one carve to record the meaning for prosperity. Remember that these are well made carvings carved in rock, not only written on paper or etch on sand. It took time to make, hence it was probably important.

Could it be that ancient people wanted to keep track of time, these sites would become observatories of some sorts so that people could use to gain the knowledge of the movement of time. Rock carving as the circle with lines could have been a tool to use to calculate time. The site has clues that give away that people who lived here had a knowledge of astronomy, as the erected stones around the site.

Ait Ouazik village near the Petroglyph site.
Notice the enormous rolling hills at the back.
Credit: S. Lamoureux/ KTY Toutatis.
They were observing stars, planets, Sun and Moon movements.
This particular petroglyph of a circle with 23 lines which 13 are ball-lines seems to me as a calendar of some sort that ancient people used to track time with celestial bodies. I have researched this carving for many weeks and talked about it extensively with people, read in books and on the Internet if there was similar carvings or drawings in the world. It turns out to be found all around the world.

At first this site was only a place with very old rock carvings and it was not a big deal, but then I opened my mind and started to try to put together an astronomical connection to all this. I liked the idea that ancient people and civilisations were not dumb or stupid and could have had a real connection with the Universe. Maybe it was their only way (at least their first way) to measure time. Time that became so precious with the recording of agricultural implements and the fact that people stood still (sedentary).

Our driver /guide Hamoud
Expert of the desert, we felt safe with him.
Credit: S. Lamoureux/ KTY Toutatis.
So I opened my mind to all kinds of possibilities. This rock carvings could be a calendar, a lunar calendar, a Solar calendar, a Venus calendar. Then I stuck with the idea that this was a Venus calendar. With its 13 ball-lines representing the ratio of 13 to 8 (13 is the years Venus revolves the Sun in ratio to 8 for Earth to revolve around the Sun). This was to represent a longer cycle of time that the Sun or the Moon could not represent with there sudden and daily movement.
There are 10 lines with no ball-shape that bug me. There is something, but I have not figure it out yet. I admit that there are some gaps in the numbers and this is all speculative, but I loved to work on this project and it was surely an eye opener.

I venture to say that this specific petroglyph is a time keeper and essential to life for these ancient people.

Ait Ouazik was spectacular and it opened my eyes to ancient cultures and people. The way ancient civilizations saw there surroundings (on Earth and above).
It started as a tourist attraction but evolved into a deep questioning of how ancient people perceived astronomy in their time and place.

Please continue reading the next post of my Astronomy trip in the Sahara, Southern Morocco HERE. Follow the complete travel post series and enjoy the astronomy behind it. This is all part of the public outreach of Astronomy Club Toutatis, Kustavi, Finland.  

Links:
Ait Ouazik Petroglyph site, Southern Morocco.
Petroglyphs WIKI
Archeoastronomy WIKI
Article on the petroglyphs in Ait Ouazik
A primer on the Evolution of Astronomical Calendars.