Western Nevada College is excited to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Jack C. Davis Observatory in 2023. The observatory is named after the college’s first president and opened in 2003 with astronaut Buzz Aldrin, the second man to walk on the Moon, lecturing at opening ceremonies.
In honor of this milestone anniversary, WNC Foundation and the JCDO Director Dr. Thomas Herring have worked together to create some spectacular astrophotography for its annual fundraising note card campaign.
A pack of these fascinating note cards is available for $10. Each pack includes two notecards for each photograph for a total of 12 note cards. To purchase a pack of note cards, please phone Hilda Villafana at 775-445-3325.
Five of the six photographs were taken by John Dykes, an active volunteer at the observatory and a former president of the Western Nevada Astronomical Society (WNAS). The full Moon over WNC was a photo taken by Sam Golden of Choice 50 Photography.
Each pack includes:
• Moon Airliner: A plane caught by accident crossing in front of a full Moon. The
photographer didn’t notice until the next day that something was in the way.
• Horsehead: The Horsehead nebula is a reflection nebula located near Orion’s belt
about 1375 light years from Earth. The dark shape is dense gas and dust blocking
visible light from stars behind. The red surroundings are emissions from hydrogen, the
most abundant element in the universe.
• Pleiades: This is an open cluster of stars that has been given names by many
cultures around the globe. This cluster of young hot stars is located about 444 light
years from Earth. It is also known as Subaru in Japan, Makaliʻi to native Hawaiians, and
Matariki to the Māori.
• Rosette: This is a nebula of ionized atomic hydrogen about 5000 light years from
Earth. The red glow is characteristic of hydrogen emissions.
• Jack C. Davis Observatory with star trails: This photo is a time lapse of stars moving through the
sky as the Earth rotates on its axis. Photos were taken over the course of the night and
stacked together. During the final exposure a car’s headlights illuminated the building,
providing the contrast with the dark sky and shadows across the building itself.
• Full Moon over WNC: The fifth annual Reach for the Stars Gala fundraiser presented by WNC Foundation in August included an extra visual bonus from above — a spectacular full Moon.
For people with an interest in astronomy or a desire to learn more about the universe, you are invited to attend free Saturday night Star Parties from dusk until 11 p.m. at the observatory. WNC also offers astronomy classes, such as Stellar Astronomy (AST 110), this spring, and Dr. Thomas Herring and Northern Nevada lecturer Mike Thomas provide free lectures to the community throughout the year.