Cool October evenings – time for the Enchanted Skies Star Party
Cool October Evenings – Time for the Enchanted Skies Star Party
Written by Lisa Foley, email@example.com
The stage is set for the annual Enchanted Skies Star Party, October 14 through the 17th, 2009. An exciting and eclectic blend of events will be held at several locations in and around Socorro - not the least of which will be a first-hand account of the recent Hubble servicing spacewalk.
View the Milky Way atop the Magdalena Mountains, tour behind the scenes at the VLA, hear the facts about New Mexico UFO landings, learn about galaxies, see a U.S Air Force satellite tracking facility, enjoy a chuck-wagon BBQ at the El Camino Real Heritage Center. And come away with a renewed appreciation for one of New Mexico’s most precious resources – our incredible dark skies.
This year promises an especially interesting keynote address by Dr. John Grunsfeld, the lead spacewalker on the fifth and final Hubble servicing mission, STS-125. The subject of a new NOVA episode, "Hubble’s Amazing Rescue" (to be aired Tuesday Oct. 13), this mission was previously regarded as too dangerous, and was cancelled by NASA in 2004. See Dr. Grunsfeld’s personal account of his experiences right here in Socorro, 7pm Fri. Oct. 16 in the 3rd floor ballroom at Fidel Center, New Mexico Tech. This event is free and open to the public. T-shirt’s for autographs will be available for purchase.
After the keynote address, the party continues with a luminaria walk to Etscorn Campus Observatory. A green laser tour will reveal interesting objects and point out constellations of the autumn sky.
Many other lectures and workshops are offered to registered participants. On Wednesday Oct. 14, take a guided trip to the top of South Baldy for a 10,000’ observing session. Even without a telescope, the spectacle of the Milky Way at this high altitude is stunning.
On Thursday Oct. 15, tour behind-the-scenes at the Very Large Array at 1pm. Or come hear about “Alien Fauna of New Mexico” and “Relativity for Regular Folks”. Later that evening the group will caravan to the GEODSS facility on the White Sands Missile Range, for a rare look into an Air Force satellite tracking facility.
All festivities move to the El Camino Real Heritage Center on Saturday, Oct. 17. Learn the story of this historic trail in the afternoon from local historian Paul Harden. Join us for a traditional western chuck-wagon dinner at 5pm. Listen to campfire stories by Chaco Canyon park ranger, G.B. Cornucopia, while you watch the stars come out. There’s something for everyone at this annual event.
To register, call 575-835-8927 or write: firstname.lastname@example.org.