Constellation Story podcast and JPL annual open house this weekend

Jones, Jane H (1862) jane.h.jones at
Wed May 12 10:01:39 PDT 2010

Last August, I sat in a huge tent in the middle of an Ontario (Canada) field
waiting to give my talk at the annual Starfest star party. The speaker
before me was playing a drum, and singing and telling star stores. The
drummer was Wilfred Buck, a Cree First Nation Elder and Science Educator
with the Manitoba First Nation Education Resource Center.

Wilfred travels the length and breadth of the Canadian province of Manitoba
presenting starlab planetarium shows to nearly 60 First Nation schools with
17,000 students. While he drummed, he sang songs and told star and
constellation stories he gathered first-hand from Cree First Nation Elders.
When it was dark, he took us out into the field and pointed out the
constellations while he told even more star tales.  :-)

I was literally star-struck with his presentation and stargazing stories,
and asked him for a copy of it. Over the months, we became friends, and I
asked him if I could write up some of the stories and share them with
others. He said yes, and then then invited me to the annual First Nation
Science Fair in late March (it was awesome!!). Here is how I presented his
stories on my blog last year.

Recently, I asked him if I could do one of my monthly NASA podcasts about
the Cree Constellation stories he shared at the August star partt and he
said yes and reviewed my script. :-)

So with the rich Cree constellation paintings as a base, Wilfred's stories
as the glue, I added some ancient star charts and constellation stories from
other cultures to make May's What's Up podcast. And here it is:

The SSE version has related links - stories of the Night sky, including one
video of Wilfred telling a big bear tale, so click through the links.

Youtube might be easier for some:


Please share with whoever you want.

Oh, and this weekend is JPL Open House. On display will be Hubble's
Wide-Field Planetary Camera 2 - the camera that saved Hubble! It was built
at JPL and was in the Spacecraft Assembly Facility being built when I first
visited JPL on a visitor tour over 20 years ago.  I'll be in the Solar
System exhibit area this year accessorized as Galileo, thanks to Caroline
and Joan from our sidewalk astronomers club. I'll be holding a Galilean
telescope replica and pointing to missions displays for future missions to
the outer planets. Stop by and see me, and I'll also point you to the
Cassini exhibit where one of our other sidewalk astronomers, Dr. Scott, will
be stationed part of the weekend.  :-) Get all the details here:

Over and Out!  Jane

Jane Houston Jones
Senior Outreach Specialist, Cassini Program
JPL - 4800 Oak Grove Drive, MS 230-205
Pasadena, CA  91109  818-393-6435
jane.h.jones at
What's Up For May - Constellation Stories

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