Most of the sky maps and other astronomical charts and information on this site are centred on the location of Houston, Texas (latitude 29° 45' north, longitude 95° 21' west). This makes them more or less directly applicable to most of Canada, the United States, Mexico, and Central America. With adjustments for time zones, they are also applicable to most of Europe, Northern Africa, the Middle East, India, China and Japan. Those north of these areas will find their constellations shifted southwards in the sky. Those to the south will find their constellations shifted to the north.
Houston, Texas was chosen primarily because its skies are applicable to as many people as possible, while maintaining the magic of the more southern skies of Mexico.
It is also no coincidence that Houston is where we find the heart and soul of space exploration, NASA's Johnson Space Center, where the astronaut corps, and mission control for both the Space Shuttle and The International Space Station are located.
The Mexican Skies Observatory is quite a bit further south at latitude 16° north, longitude 97° west, near the pueblo of Santa Elena, about 25 minutes south of the Mexican Pipeline at Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca, Mexico.
It all started with Hawaiian Skies, back in 1985, in the days before the Internet. (Yes Virginia, there really was a time when there was no Internet, and it was not so very long ago!) The medium for Hawaiian Skies was a weekly radio program on KAOI FM, Maui. A decade later, back in the Great White North, in the wide open spaces of the Cariboo, far from the things of Man, Hawaiian Skies became Cariboo Skies, and found a home on the world wide web.
The Northern Lights are exceedingly awesome. They make your knees buckle. Up on the Cariboo plateau, with 3,000 feet less atmosphere to blur things up, the winter skies are breathtaking. They are also very cold, playing havoc with telescope mirrors, and subjecting stargazers to a serious case of the shivers. Being obsessed, I braved the elements, but trying to inspire others to do so was not easy, and that, after all, was the whole idea. The summer nights are much warmer of course, but only for a couple of months, and ironically, that far north in the summer the Sun never descends far enough below the horizon for the sky to become truly black, and observing quality is degraded.
The Cariboo is full of magic in so many ways, a piece of me will live there forever, but the rest of me is back in the tropics, where star gazing is comfortable and warm, and fun for the whole family, all night long. Hence Mexican Skies. Down here people are quite used to spending a lot of time out under the stars in the relative cool of the evening, but surprisingly very few have any idea what they are looking at. Hopefully, that's where Mexican Skies will be able to help.
Mexican Skies is completely free. There are no membership fees, or fees of any kind, despite the thousands of hours put into its creation and its maintenance. You may freely download anything on this site. Unless otherwise mentioned, everything on this site is in the public domain.
The reason Mexican Skies is free is because it should be. Science, art, music and literature should all be freely shared, because they enhance collective communication. And the more communication there is on this planet, the more we get to know each other, and the less inclined we are to beat each other over the head, and the closer we come to World Peace.
Astronomy is the key to World Peace. The more we learn about the Cosmos, the more we learn about ourselves, and the tiny little world we call home. The more we understand we are all family, no matter what nationality, religion or race. And how we must all work together to tend the garden, so that it can sustain us, and allow us to evolve, and improve ourselves.
So spread the word. Talk to people about astronomy. Introduce them to the stars, the planets. Talk about black holes, extraterrestrial life, galaxies, nebulae, dark matter, dark energy, astrology. Introduce them to the beauty, the mythology, the science, and the magic of the Universe surrounding our little world. The more people expand their perception through astronomy, the more people will communicate, and be enlightened, and the closer we'll all be to World Peace.
Finally, thank-you for all the kind words and encouragement. Together, we can make this Time just a little bit finer...