"Stars in the Parks" 2006 Kicks Off

Monday, February 13 2006 @ 11:35 am EST

Contributed by: bobmoody

AOAS' annual "Stars in the Parks" public observing nights kicked off on Saturday, February 4th, at Carol Ann Cross Park in Ft Smith. Eight more events are planned at the same location for the rest of 2006 through September. Our next "Stars in the Parks" public night is set for March 4th, and all public observing events begin at dusk.

ALL our events this year will be held on the FIRST SATURDAY of the month through September 2, EXCEPT for our last one which will be held on September 30. (That's TWO events in September!) Come join us to see what we can show you of our mysterious universe!

Visitors and members of AOAS view Saturn, the moon and much more at the kick-off of "Stars in the Parks" 2006 on February 4th. Member Richard Portman of Ft Smith adjusts his 8" Dobsonian telescope while viewing craters on the moon.

A new observing season has kicked off on February 4th at Carol Ann Cross Park in Ft Smith. Through our collaboration with the Ft Smith Parks Department's "Friends of the Parks" program, AOAS holds public observing nights at one of their facilities, and we receive use of one of their meeting rooms to hold our bi-monthly meetings. The collaboration works well for both entities and we enjoy the opportunity to hold several public nights each year at Carol Ann Cross Park.

Our February 4th event had eleven AOAS members with 8 telescopes set up for public viewing. The crowd was a little sparse, possibly due to the crisp air temperature, but the 25-30 people who DID join us were all well pleased with the views of Saturn, our moon, and a very small and distant planet Mars.

Click read more for the rest of this story; learn how to capture stellar objects with your digital camera

Saturn through a 12.5" f/7 telescope with a 30mm Plossl eyepiece (73X) taken with a Canon PowerShot A10 digital camera at full zoom (6X) and on automatic settings. The view with your eyes was much, much sharper, but anyone with a digital camera may use them to take home their own celestial images at one or more of our "Stars in the Parks" events in 2006.
Several visitors who attended the opening session on February 4th took digital images of several celestial objects home with them. It's easy to simply hold a digital camera up to the eyepiece (LOW power) of a telescope and grab an image of that object to take home. We're always happy to help everyone with a digital camera do the same thing.

Many schools join us for an occasional public night such as these, and every school is welcomed to bring your students out to join us at the next 'Stars in the Parks" public night, or to any of our scheduled public nights at our Coleman Observatory facility located 8 mi NW of Van Buren. Alternatively, we do special presentations just for schools by reservation. We can bring our scopes to your school and setup for a night of celestial wonder and fascination by contacting us to schedule one at your school. Just call or email Bob Moody

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