SaddleBrooke Skygazers

You’re invited to a Star Party

Rita Fletcher

Come see what is not visible to your naked eye! Where you saw only an empty black space, now through a telescope you will see surprises like the moons of Jupiter, the fascinating and tilting ring system around Saturn, the true brilliance of Venus, nebulas, globular clusters, galaxies either spiral, elliptical, irregular or barred and double stars.

The next Star Party is Tuesday, April 18, from 8:00 to 10:00 p.m. Several knowledgeable club members with their computerized scopes will happily share their expertise and telescopes for your viewing pleasure! The party is held in the softball field parking lot next to the DesertView Theatre. From Rt. 77 turn into SaddleBrooke Blvd, right on MountainView Blvd, right on Clubhouse Dr, right on Sand Crest Drive, left on Oakwood Drive, and left into the parking lot. As you enter the parking lot as a courtesy please lower your headlights, putting on your parking lights, out of respect for those already viewing. Carry a flashlight, putting a red cellophane over the light helps you and everyone see better; it takes time for the pupils in your eye to increase in size to see quickly and clearly through the different scopes.

Each star party hosts different celestial objects! April’s star party will feature Jupiter and three of its moons, the fourth moon’s shadow will be seen. Mars will be visible. There will be different asterisms, which are special star patterns, not constellations. The Orion Nebula will be visible for the last time until next winter. The bright globular cluster known as M3, my personal favorite the Beehive (M44), two bright galaxies and the Double Cluster in Perseus and several double stars are all ready to show off for you.

The next star party is May 17, 8:00–10:00 p.m. at the same location. Star parties are subject to the weather, so if a cancellation is made you can know by emailing [email protected] or calling Richard at 520-603-0940. SkyGazer’s website has up-to-date information: It has contact information, meeting and star party schedules.

To join SkyGazers please contact Sam Miller at [email protected] or call 520-468-2525.

There is much to learn about astronomy without getting too technical. Consider interesting facts like: did you know we humans are made of stardust? New data is coming in fast; astronomers are having a field day. An example is the recent discovery of seven earth sized planets that could have water and some form of life. A Belgium team, using a telescope in Chile, focused on an area of the sky largely ignored and shunned by most astronomers because it contained just 60 tiny dwarf stars. And voila, they made a first-time discovery! Maybe another more important fact is knowing exactly where the best place to play golf is. Go to Pluto! Pluto has very weak gravity, even less than the moon! Now you know!