The word parallax, broadly interpreted, means “new insights gained from the addition of a second vantage point”—a metaphor with enough meaning to earn an appearance in my wedding vows.

Astronomers can learn a lot from the use of parallax. By observing a nearby star against the background field of distant stars, we can compare measurements from one side of our orbit around the sun to those taken six months later to determine the distance to that star.

One of the best ways to gain new insights into the night sky is by joining a local astronomy group for a star party—green laser tours and guided telescope viewings. One such event will occur at Cerrillos Hills State Park (near Santa Fe) after sunset on March 9. Observe distant galaxies, nebulae, and open clusters with help from an expert.

For more details, click on the events calendar at or call (505) 474-0196.