Highland County will once again host astronomers from the Charlottesville Astronomical Society for a Star Party over the weekend of October 21st – 23rd with the event conducted on the best weather night. The public is invited to this free event and will have a chance to view nebulas, galaxies, planets, a laser sky tour, and other celestial wonders. The event starts off with an orientation session at the viewing site, Hayfields, at 6:30 p.m. to explain “viewing etiquette” and preview what can be seen. When twilight begins at about 7:15, it will be dark enough to observe planets.
The decision as to which one of these three possible nights is selected, based on the weather forecast, will be announced in that week’s Recorder. Stay tuned to WVLS FM (89.7), the Highland County Stargazer’s Facebook page, the Highland County Chamber of Commerce website (www.highlandcounty.org), and the Recorder Facebook page to know which night is chosen for best visibility.
There is a change of location this time. The guest astronomers will set up their powerful telescopes at Hayfields Reserve, south of McDowell. This Virginia Outdoors Foundation property is dedicated to advancing conservation and education in Highland and the greater community. From McDowell, at the Presbyterian Church, go south on Bullpasture River Road (route 678) 7.4 miles, then turn left into the property. Turns will be marked, and there is ample parking.
If you plan to attend, dress warmly, wear sturdy shoes, and bring a folding lawn chair. Red glow sticks will be provided because regular, white flashlights diminish night vision. There is no charge for this public event which celebrates Highland County’s unique dark sky resource. Here’s hoping for clear skies! You may direct any questions to Michael Bedwell at 434-468-2316.
Photo credit to Kathy Cobb Photography.
Organizer – Scott Duresky