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Step back in time while celebrating the Webb Space Telescope
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LARNED — On Saturday, Sept. 10, Fort Larned National Historic Site and the Santa Fe Trail Center are teaming up to present a day of fun and fascination celebrating the scientific achievement of the James Webb Space Telescope. 

On Dec. 25, 2021, NASA launched the James Webb Space Telescope. According to NASA, Webb is the “worlds’ largest and most complex space science observatory.” Using infrared photography, Webb will be able to “see” past the dense gas clouds that block visible light to reveal hidden secrets of the universe.  

Webb is the latest step in the scientific journey to understand our universe. Although humans have been studying the night sky since antiquity, the age of modern astronomy started in the early 1800s when the invention of photography allowed scientists to record the stars. Most of these early astronomers were amateurs, including many Army medical officers, who were interested in all kinds of scientific discovery in addition to medicine. Fort Larned Post Surgeon Capt. William Forwood studied the night sky with a telescope and recorded his observations. 

By the 20th century, advances in photography and telescopes allowed for more discoveries in the solar system and the universe. Amateur astronomers were also being replaced by professional, college educated astronomers. Many got their start as amateurs with a burning desire to know more about space, such as Clyde Tombaugh from Burdett who used farm equipment to make a telescope and would eventually go on to discover Pluto. 

All telescopes are time machines. The farther away we look in the universe, the further back in time we go. Join Fort Larned and the Santa Fe Trail Center as we step back in time and celebrate the wonderful scientific achievement of the Webb Space Telescope. 


Schedule of Events for Saturday, September 10

9 to 11:30 a.m. – Santa Fe Trail Center 

Come and Go Events 

Walk the Solar System – “planets” laid out in feet to illustrate the vast distances in our own solar system. 

Hands-on activity for the kids: Life Cycle of a Massive Star string bead activity

11 a.m. - Program: From Clyde Tombaugh to James Webb 


1 to 3:30 p.m. – Fort Larned NHS 

Come and Go Events 

Rotating display of Webb’s first images. 

Hands-on activities for the kids: Pack a Telescope and Nebula Spin Art  

Display on the “Science Behind Webb” 

Both events are free to the public, although the Santa Fe Trail Center does charge an entrance fee if you would like to go through their museum while there for the event. 

Fort Larned National Historic Site is located 6 miles west of Larned on K-156. Information on visiting is on the internet at or by calling 620-285-6911 or emailing to

The Santa Fe Trail Center is located 2 miles west of Larned on K-156. Information on visiting is on the internet at or by calling 620-285-2054.

For information on area tourism partners, lodging, dining, and community services go to or call 620-285-6916.