Nov. 10, 2012: 6th Annual Night Under the Stars: Official Arizona Centennial Event
Star Gazing • Solar Telescope • Afternoon Scout Presentation • Evening Presentation • Night Sky Network Info Tent!
Our 6th annual star night party at Alamo Lake SP was another great event (although admittedly colder and windier than other years!). But after the sun set, the clouds broke and the wind died down leaving us great dark skies!
The Night Sky Network tent and solar viewing were well attended throughout the day with over 100 people having a look at solar flares, sun spots and even Venus through one telescope. Although in the afternoon, the clouds decided to move in and play hide and seek with the Sun and Venus, viewers were patient, and would run up to the scopes when a hole would appear in the clouds. The Astronomers of Verde Valley (AstroVerde.org) also provided a fun solar system puzzle, and a bracelet craft activity with glow in the dark beads!
At 3 pm we held a special presentation for 60 Cub Scouts and a few Girl Scouts. At 4 pm there was a presentation by Richard Bohner about Lowell Observatory. And at 5:15 pm JD Maddy presented to over 100 people our keynote presentation. We also held a raffle for great prizes donated by sponsors Meteor Crater, Lowell Observatory and more. With 16 astronomers and 19 telescopes, the crowd moved to the viewing field. We got a Sky Quality Meter (SQM) reading of 21.5. Around 220 people stopped by through the evening and looked through the scopes.
Some of the sights we enjoyed included:
- The Milky Way's dark dust lanes were easily seen going across the sky.
- Open clusters dotted the path up through Cassiopeia seen with the naked eye.
- The Andromeda Galaxy could also be easily seen with the naked eye.
- As Jupiter rose above the horizon, most scopes slewed over to have a look at the large, almost blinding gas planet. The equatorial belts were easily seen. Ganymede was hiding behind Jupiter until after 10 pm, so only three Galilean Moons were visible for most of the viewers.
- Plus, we saw Comet Hergenrother. It was very faint, but the dark skies revealed its somewhat of a fan shaped tail.
- We also saw M27, NGC253, M13 and M31, and more!
Next year's event is tentatively schedule for November 2. We hope to see you there!
This event is supported by Astronomers of Verde Valley (AstroVerde.org ) including: JD Maddy (President), Karen Maddy, and Richard Bohner. The Astronomers of Verde Valley received the Team of the Year Award from the Arizona State Parks Volunteer Program for their outstanding contributions to this event and its expansion of Star Party events to other Arizona State Parks! Thank you!
Other event sponsors for 2012 include: Tele Vue Optics, Lowell Observatory, USGS of Flagstaff, Orion Telescopes, Night Sky Network, Astronomy Magazine & Celestron Telescopes. Alamo Lake SP is a proud member of the Global Star Park Network.
We want to thank all of the volunteer astronomers, the park staff (Park Manager Mark Knapp and Rangers Wayne Wagar, Clyde Jones, & Ron Logan), the park onsite volunteers, and the Arizona State Parks volunteers who came out for this event. Plus a special thank you to the astronomers who traveled all the way from from Seattle and Nevada to participate! In addition, we welcomed the Arizona Science Center's mobile science van and their new 11" scope to the event! Plus thanks to Dr. David Brown of Scottsdale Community College for arranging a class field trip to this event!
Note: We don't allow flash photography during the night to protect everyone's night vision, so enjoy the afternoon and evening photos!
- Alamo Lake
- Buckskin Mountain
- Cattail Cove
- Lake Havasu
- River Island
- Yuma Quartermaster Depot
- Yuma Territorial Prison
- Dead Horse Ranch
- Fort Verde
- Red Rock
- Riordan Mansion
- Slide Rock
- Verde River Greenway
- Boyce Thompson Arboretum
- Fool Hollow Lake
- Lost Dutchman
- Lyman Lake
- Tonto Natural Bridge