Oracle IDSC Talk, Live Music, and Star Party at Oracle State Park
Posted: 22 September 2019
Saturday, 21 September 2019, I was a Guest Speaker at Oracle State Park to discuss the possibility for the town of Oracle to become an IDA "International Dark Sky Community". I began my talk shortly after 4 PM in the living room of the Kannally Ranch House.
Photo by Park Manager Vince Micallef
The talk was well received by the 30 attendees from Oracle, Saddlebrooke Ranch, Saddlebrooke, Oro Valley, and Tucson.
After the talk there was live music by local folk musician Steve Priestle on the upper patio while members of the Tucson Amateur Astronomy Association and Saddlebrooke SkyGazers Club began setting up their telescopes for the star party. A "Frozen Delights" food truck offered ice cream, yogurt and shaved ice treats for sale. The Friends of Oracle State Park was selling memberships and astronomer's flashlights and taking donations
As the sky became darker long lines began forming at each of the telescopes.
The planets Saturn (bright object at the upper left in the top photo) and Jupiter (bright object at the upper right) were viewed through the telescopes, to the thrill of everyone.
One of the highlights of the night was a pass of the International Space Station (ISS) over the Kannally Ranch House. The bright streak in these photos is the ISS.
Once the sky was fully dark the visitors were awed by the view of the night sky from Oracle State Park. Many people were able to see the Andromeda Galaxy in the eastern sky (the fuzzy object just above center in this photo).
The light from the Andromeda Galaxy (14,696,500,000,000 miles away) takes 2 and half million years to reach our eyes.
The biggest highlight for the night for many visitors was seeing the Milky Way horizon to horizon and crossing directly overhead. This photo shows the core of the Milky Way in the southern sky.
The last of the nearly 100 Park visitors left about 9:30 PM after another great evening of music and stargazing at Oracle State Park. Thanks to the Friends of Oracle State Park for the music sponsorship and the Tucson Amateur Astronomy Association and Saddlebrooke SkyGazers Club for the telescopes. Photos by Mike Weasner.
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