Clay Portrait Aug 2014 by BrianMuch like the multitudes of tiny, barely perceptible, stars sprinkled throughout the skies, the seemingly random thoughts and philosophies that sparkle from time to time in my head need some place to call home in the cosmos.

Thus, "Stardust" allows me to share thoughts and ideas from all of the ranges of human thought:  personal, natural, scientific and various excursions into otherwise random thoughts.  Some may have no beginning, no end.  But others I hope that you might benefit through knowing.

Essentially, "Stardust" is my personal forum to talk to YOU; hopefully you will be a dedicated listener.  You may not agree with me all the time - perhaps some of you never - but it might be fun for you to judge for yourself just how misguided I am in my wanderings.
I have had a rich life:  art, poetry, music, archeology, paleontology, geology, microbiology, astronomy, astrophysics, environment.  But richest of all are the humans that I have come to know and those with whom I have shared my life.
Please indulge me while I share just a bit longer.....
.....welcome to "Stardust."
Dr. Clay

Thirty Years Ago this Year:

Halley’s Comet from Petit Jean Mountain – 1986

by P. Clay Sherrod

It was three decades ago that thousands of people from throughout Arkansas and surrounding states flocked to the many Arkansas State Parks to get perhaps their one and only glimpse of the famous Halley’s Comet which returned for a lifetime curtain call in 1985 and 1986.  In 1910 the comet drew intense interest worldwide with claims the comet contained Cyanide and the fact that the Earth was passing right through the tail of the comet.  The attention was even more dramatic due to the fact that nearly all in 1910 who THOUGHT they witnessed the comet, actually had seen a far brighter comet (the "Great Comet of 1910") which had nothing to do with the lesser bright and far less spectacular Halley's Comet.

Halleys 1986 March22 CROP  Halley's Comet from Petit Jean Mtn., March 22, 1986 by P. Clay Sherrod

Arkansas Sky Observatories had its headquarters near the North Little Rock Airport and I was a mere 37 years old, seemingly with immortality ahead of me.

The astronomy association Midsouth Astronomical Research Society (M.A.R.S.) organized public viewing sessions throughout Arkansas to offer education and viewing opportunities to the general public, all in coordination with Arkansas State Parks, the National Forest Service and the National Parks Service/

Viewings were held at Mount Nebo, Queen Wilhelmina, Magazine Mountain,

June 25, 2016

The Genesis Project
now posted at:
(ASO website:  Home Page Tab "Doc's Art")

A Series of Artworks by P. Clay Sherrod
Providing discussion concerning blending the Biblical record of Creation and the scientific views

Now posted to the ASO website features:
"The Art of Creation" series, a collection of artwork by P. Clay Sherrod based on the series of "days" in the Bible. This 27-piece work, started in 1989 through 2002, has been exhibited throughout the country with accompanying explanatory documents. Stay tuned....this exhibition is intended to provoke thought and discussion as science and religious beliefs merge into common medium.

Each original multi-media piece is 24 x 36 inches and is accompanied with a discussion sheet/booklet which describes the elements of the artwork, the verse of Genesis to which it refers and provides scientific insight into support for Biblical passages that are very familiar to us all. 

Shown here is "Mother of Extinction" (1989) from the collection, showing the last dinosaur of Earth - a mother Tyranosaurus - grieving over her lost baby, something that we would not suspect to be done by these large reptilian beasts, but recent research suggests that the dinosaurs were nurturing, caring animals who care for and protected their young at all costs.

I hope that you enjoy the series, a new piece of art will be featured occasionally, along with the full explanatory text that accompanies the exhibit.
(**Please Note:  All original pieces are presently protected by archival framing; the photos that are presented have been taken through glass**)
mother of extinctionV S

JUPITER ROCKS on Petit Jean Mountain

by P. Clay Sherrod
Arkansas Sky Observatories

One of the primary things that I tell people that is done at Arkansas Sky Observatories is "chasing rocks"....but by that I mean large and dangerous asteroids (Near Earth Objects) that may someday cross the Earth's orbit and result in impact of our planet.  It has happened before for certain and it will happen again.

But sometimes the coolest things are right in front of us, many times missed. Such is the case with my "JUPITER ROCK" shown here. This smooth river stone, measuring about 1.5 inch across, was spotted as I sat on the steps leading to one of the observatories on a very hot June afternoon.

Jupiter Rock ASO

No doubt, this is showing the planet Jupiter, complete with Great Red Spot and the many belts and zones familiar to all who have viewed or seen photos of the giant planet (photo on left).

The smooth stone has not been washed nor touched up in any way. Those who have seen the "ASO Jupiter Rock" are convinced that this is no coincidence....... I am going to start looking down more
.....perhaps Saturn will be next!

May 10, 2016


My Touch at Paradise
by P. Clay Sherrod

Petit Jean Mtn art2

From the time I was a very small boy, perhaps five or six, I said that I was going to live on Petit Jean Mountain.  And here I am.

Most people do not understand the mystique and alure of this place until they visit. First trip is enough to make you want to come back and explore for more..... Second trip you fall in love with this place..... Third trip you start looking for property to buy.

When I leave this world, I want Heaven to be Petit Jean Mountain.

It has become a very important part of my life and memories.....I came here with my grandparents and parents as a curious boy before the road was even paved to the top; I camped with my Father here under a makeshift tarp shelter in days before you could buy a pre-fab tent; I brought my own children up here hundreds of times to camp and stay in the mountain Lodge as they grew to adulthood.   When the children were young our favorite part of the Christmas holidays was to have Christmas morning at home in the city, then immediately load up our vehicle and come to a cabin on Petit Jean Mountain where we started Christmas all over again for the following week.

June 7, 2016

Beauty and the Beast

[OR:  Date night in the 21st Century]

scurffy guy date nite

Okay....let me re-phrase that question:  "WHAT IS WRONG WITH THE PRETTY LADY  IN THIS PHOTO?"

For gosh sakes, girl!  Look at that bozo that you are with!  He may be the nicest guy on the planet, bought you flowers, actually picked you up at your door on date night, and perhaps even took a bath and smells good.  But look at him....the 3-day scruff, which is not growing well on the fellow, no socks, some type of Broadway pantaloons, a jacket that he molested off of some unsuspecting small bum on his way to your apartment, and the proverbial white T-shirt.   Apparently the flooding is really bad where the poor chap left from because he still has the cuffs of his knickers rolled above his hairless ankles.

Carden Bottoms and the Silent Schoolhouse

P. Clay Sherrod - May 5, 2016
[photos by Clarke L. Sherrod]
Sometimes the things closest to us reveal amazing secrets that we would miss unless revealed through the tales of others.
Such is the case of what appears to be the amazingly flat, fertile and desolate land just west of Petit Jean Mountain known as "Carden Bottoms."
Earliest History
Also known as Carden's Bottom or Carden Bottoms, this land today is home to a vast farming industry, a rich alluvial
flood plain that covers both Conway and Yell Counties, created by the Arkansas River and partially from the flooding of the smaller Petit Jean River.  The land was settled by the first European descendents by the James Carden family in the early 1800's.
The first secret that this massive agricultural Mecca held was that of the Native American Woodland and Mississippian cultures who lived  in huge populations throughout this valley; indeed early French explorers

Written May 12, 2016

It was a very good was a very sad year.

Remembering 30 years back to 1986
P. Clay Sherrod

Asking folks to regress 30 years into the past is sometimes easy.  Sometimes not easy at all.  For one thing, a lot of my readers were not even born yet and others were still playing with the brand new Nintendo Game Console which had been delivered by Santa the Christmas of 1985.  The late David Bowie was at his peak, and we were watching the two top shows, CHEERS and The Cosby Show.  How things change.

You could by a Plymouth Colt for less that $5,000 and the Ford Mustang was starting at $7,450 and gas to fill it up was only $0.84.

We did not have home computers.....we did not have smart cameras were a decade away.  A flat screen TV was something left at the curb and accidentally run over by the garbage truck.
No al-Qaeda, no ISIS, no Homeland Security.  Cameras did not watch us at every intersection and airport screenings were done only if you did not have a ticket.

April 16, 2016


Hopefully if you are reading this, you have realized that Arkansas Sky Observatories has a new, improved and state-of-the-art website.  The old site was an incredibly intricate and beautifully designed effort, but things change and ultimately it became so antiquated - shall I say 'old fashioned?' - that it literally quit working.

Not such a problem if you have a webmaster, which ASO did not; the creator of the original award-winning ASO site in 2001, my brother, is sadly no longer in the web business.  I know how to push buttons on computers to get them to work and to accomplish great high-tech stuff.  But I do not know, nor need to know, how they do what they do.  I just want them to work.  I wanted our ASO website to work.....but ASO is a 'non-profit' in the strictest sense of the word.

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