SD Nelson's longtime interest in stone artwork is reflected in many of his paintings (see sdnelson.net). He began exploring the idea of a megalithic stone calendar or observatory about 10 years ago. These early ideas centered around the concept of the Portal Monolith, and the idea that light passing through its portal could be caused to play across other stones with petroglyph markings to create a lunar or star calendar.
Art met Science in late February of 2008, when Nelson brought his ideas to astronomer Christian Luginbuhl, whom he had met in 2001 during the first NightVisions art exhibition at Flagstaff's Coconino Center for the Arts. NightVisions was created by Mr. Luginbuhl and the Flagstaff Dark Skies Coalition as part of a community-wide series of events called Celebration of the Night.
At these early meetings the collaboration between Steve and Chris flowered into a true synergistic collaboration, and STARHENGE was born. New ideas were springing up almost daily. Soon it became impossible, and unnecessary, to distinguish who had created which idea.
Many new types of alignments have been created for STARHENGE. The Polaris Stone alignment was one of the first, an alignment that can be observed on any clear night by any observer. Some of the events were even serendipitous, unanticipated when an alignment was being devised, revealed when simulations were run to explore the details of the interplay of light with the stones.
Many elements of the overall plan have also arisen or been enhanced through interaction with the community at large, as various ideas, or sometimes even objections, were brought to the attention of Steve and Chris. STARHENGE has become a true widespread collaborative effort led by Steve and Chris but including many members of the community of Flagstaff.