Contact: Michael Zeilik, 277-4442
Michael Padilla, 277-1816

July 2, 2001


Michael Zeilik, professor of astrophysics at the University of New Mexico, will present “Astronomy in the Pueblo World - An Astronomer’s View,” Thursday, July 19, 8 p.m., at the Sweeney Center in Santa Fe.

Zeilik said the Pueblo people of the Southwest perceive a cosmos in which nature functions with the active cooperation of humankind, and they must perform the proper ceremony at the proper time to ensure the regulation of order.

“The selection of the proper time was guided by astronomical observations that were the responsibility of a small number of religious officials - the Sun Priests of the Pueblos,” Zeilik said. “This talk will focus on the astronomy of the historic pueblos to understand how the sequence of ceremonies is properly scheduled. With the background of historic practices as a guide, I will examine selected sites of the prehistoric Pueblo world, including Fajada Butte and Chaco Canyon, to evaluate their possible astronomical uses and practices.”

The lecture, a special event arranged in conjunction with the forthcoming International Conference on Photonic, Electronic and Atomic Collisions, is designed for the general audience and is made possible by the New Mexico Endowment for the Humanities and the New Mexico Office of Cultural Affairs. Many of the 500 international atomic physicists and accompanying persons attending the conference during July 18-24 are expected to attend the free lecture, which is open to the public.

He said the talk, free and open to the public, is based on publicly-accessible sources, and does not divulge any information given in confidence.


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