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Jeff Newsom Sees the Moon
from the Jackson Hole Art Blog 

“Idahoan Enjoins Masses to ‘Come See the Moon!’”

“So there we were. We had one of these telescopes with a four-inch mirror in it, and Mars was going to make its closest pass in many years, and that’s what got it all started. You start looking through one of those things, and are blown away by what you can see! I thought, imagine what you could see with a bigger scope!”

image003So said Jeff Newsom of Driggs, Idaho, describing how he got interested in making telescopes. I thought that would be the subject of this story – I mean, is anyone else around here making telescopes? – no. Five minutes into my research and the full “scope” of what Newsom is doing and exploring began to crystallize and this little article became more of a humble introduction to a host of concepts and players, including, but not limited to:

Hydrogen, mirror-shaping classes, time, space, black holes, a re-examination of Big Bang theory, (which, according to www.bigbangneverhappened.org, could not have occurred), red shifts, wavelengths demonstrating a celestial object’s distance from earth; and John Dobson, renowned physicist, chemist, astronomer, “Star Monk,”  and visionary who has turned empirical evidence into philosophy.  Oh, and assists humans in seeing beyond their genetic programming.

“These are clouds, these are cats, these are bees, but when you see the moon through a scope you shut up,” Dobson has said.  Dobson founded Sidewalk Astronomers, a tribe of knowledgeable star gazers with a public service mission to introduce all citizens to space.   Dobson began the movement by setting up his homemade telescopes on San Francisco street corners and inviting passers-by to “come see the moon.”

Jeff Newsom was attracted to Dobson’s complete altruism.  Newsom learned how to build Dobsonian telescopes, made from precise, lightweight mirrors (Newsom carved his own), long focal ratios and extra wide apertures.    Newsom is also drawn to Dobson’s mix of Eastern philosophy and Western physics.  Because of Dobson, says Newsom, millions of people have “gone celestial.”

Newsom founded his own chapter of Sidewalk Astronomers, joining the mission to educate as many as he can on the secrets of the stars, planets, space, time, cosmic dustand, moonstars_noaowell, the origins of everything.  Spend a few hours with Newsom looking through his telescopes, and you may well become a convert, too.  Jeff Newsom has made it possible for all of us in Jackson, Driggs and the region to look into deep space if we want to.   Newsom engineered a visit by Dobson to Jackson Hole just a few years ago.

Peering through a giant telescope pointed towards the heavens, says Newsom, is like  “walking into the Winds for the first time or seeing the Grand Canyon. Your perspective is forever impacted.”