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First Hobbs State Park Star Party of 2014 Slated for Saturday January 18 | Environment

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First Hobbs State Park Star Party of 2014 Slated for Saturday January 18

It might be colder outside in January, but clear, crisp winter days make for excellent viewing of the night sky.  Saturday January 18, 2014 marks the first in a series of free astronomy programs presented at Hobbs State Park by the Sugar Creek Astronomical Society throughout 2014.  Each beginning Astronomy program is followed by a special topic, and then night sky viewing using the powerful telescopes provided by the Sugar Creek group and the Friends of Hobbs State Park.

The astronomical society’s president, Jack McDaniel commented on the first of six 2014 programs.  “As we begin another year at Hobbs, we will focus on the famous Orion Nebula (M42), birthplace of countless stars.  The young stars forming the famous Trapezium will be visible through our telescopes, as will part of the ghostly nebula itself.”

“Jupiter rises in the east just before sundown, and should be high enough above the trees to view about 7 pm.  It will be impressive in our telescopes with four of the largest moons visible.  Jupiter is only a few weeks past opposition with the sun, which means that it will be exceptionally bright.  The ‘belts,’ on Jupiter should be clearly visible.” 

“The winter sky is the best time of year for observing deep sky objects.  Our galactic neighbor, the Andromeda galaxy, will be overhead and we shall see the shape of the enormous structure comprising billions of stars.  The galaxy is over 2 million light years away.” 

“Numerous open and globular star clusters will catch our attention, including the open cluster M45, better known as the Pleiades in the constellation Taurus.  The Pleiades, or Seven Sisters, are one of the loveliest sights in the sky, especially through binoculars.  The cluster is relatively young at 50 million years old and actually comprises numerous stars, eighteen being visible to the naked eye.”


     What to Bring:  

  • Flashlight (covered with a red cloth or red balloon)
  • Binoculars and/or telescope (if you have)
  • Folding chair – one per person`
  • Star chart (if you have one)


When:  4:30 p.m. Saturday January 18 – Beginning astronomy class

              5:30 p.m. Saturday January 18 – Night sky observation

              (View the night sky through the Sugar Creek Astronomy Society’s/Friends of

              Hobbs high-powered telescopes.)         

Where:  Hobbs State Park – Conservation Area visitor center located on Hwy 12 just

               east of the Hwy 12/War Eagle Road intersection

Cost:  FREE

Great family fun!  Great Girl and Boy Scout experience!   For more information call:  479-789-5000


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