Annual Star Party To Be Offered Aug. 10 At Cloudland Canyon State Park

Monday, July 1, 2013

Barnard Astronomical Society (BAS) of Chattanooga, in conjunction with the management of Cloudland Canyon State Park and the Friends of Cloudland Canyon State Park will present an informative Astronomy program followed by observation of the night sky on Saturday, Aug. 10, from 8-11 p.m.. The video portion of the program will be presented at 8 p.m. and will focus on identifying the constellations as well as other objects in the night sky. After the video the telescopes will be available along with knowledgeable BAS members to help you have a memorable evening and learn about the heavenly bodies at the same time.

BAS members will be on hand with a number of telescopes to provide observations of objects that you cannot see with the naked eye. BAS members love discussing those amazing objects, millions of miles from earth that you will see through the telescopes.

The Moon

Prepare for an awesome spectacle. The moon's disk has a pastel-cream and gray background, streamers of material from impact craters stretch halfway across the lunar surface, river-like riles wind for hundreds of miles, numerous mountain ranges and craters are available for inspection. At low or high power the moon is continually changing as it goes through its phases. Occasionally you will be treated to a lunar eclipse.

The Sun  

It is quite safe to view the Sun if you utilize a proper solar filter. The Sun is fascinating to inspect as you detect and watch the ever-changing sunspot activity. If you are fortunate enough, and are willing to travel to remote locations, you may at some point experience a solar eclipse. For more information see our article - Observing The Sun

The Planets  

Observation of planets will keep you very busy. You can see Jupiter with its great red spot change hourly, study the cloud bands and watch its moons shuttle back and forth. Study Saturn and its splendid ring structure, watch Venus and Mercury as they go through their moon-like phases. Observe Mars and see its polar cap changes or watch the dust storms and deserts bloom with life. Uranus, Neptune and Pluto can be seen easily with 8" or larger telescopes.

Star Clusters  

There are two types of star clusters- (1) open star clusters (also called galactic clusters) which are loosely arranged groups of stars, occasionally not too distinctive from the background stars, and (2) globular star clusters which are tightly packed groups of many millions of stars.


These are glowing clouds of gas falling into two types- (1) planetary nebulae which are relatively small ball-shaped clouds of expanding gases and are believed to be the remnants of stellar explosions, and (2) diffuse nebulae which are vast, irregularly-shaped clouds of gas and dust


These are vast, remote "island universes," each composed of many billions of stars. Galaxies exist in a variety of sizes with regular and irregular shapes.


Magnificent comets are routinely visible through telescopes .

You may see the ever-changing dance of Jupiter's moons; the planet-wide dust storms of Mars; the mountains, valleys, and craters of our own Moon; the phases of Mercury; lunar craters less than three miles across; Martian polar caps and major dark surface features during oppositions; several additional cloud belts on Jupiter, with some detail in the belts, plus the shadows of Jupiter's moons on the planet during transits; Cassini's division in Saturn's rings on a regular basis, plus four or five of its moons; Uranus and Neptune visible as very small discs.

Organizers said, "So come with your questions and have them answered by a knowledgeable BAS member. This is an excellent opportunity for families to enjoy an evening out, in a beautiful park setting. You could come early with your picnic lunch and enjoy the other park amenities; walking the trails, seeing the waterfalls and visiting the Interpretive Center."

BAS members are highly skilled and this will be an opportunity that normally isn't available without going to the The Barnard Astronomical Society Planetarium in Chattanooga. Bring your comfortable lawn chair, blanket and insect repellent. Flashlights are optional, but if brought they must have red cellophane over the lens to protect night vision.

The astronomical presentation is free, but the normal park parking fee of $5 per vehicle applies.

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