• P.O. Box 28, Round Hill, VA 20142

Starry Night IV -– Hike, Picnic, and Stargazing at Sky Meadows State Park

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Date(s) - July 14, 2018
4:30 pm - 9:30 pm

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We’ll meet at Sky Meadows State Park for a walk up the mountain, picnic supper, and stargazing during July’s Astronomy for Everyone event.

Our hike will take us up to the Ambassador Whitehouse Overlook and a bit beyond into the mountaintop meadows. The hike is about 3.75 miles roundtrip with a gain of 850 feet and is rated Moderate. We’ll take our time.

After the hike, we’ll retrieve our picnic supplies from our cars and have dinner as we enjoy an unobstructed view of the sun going down behind the Blue Ridge. We ask that everyone bring their own chairs, meal, and beverages. If you feel moved to bring something to share as well, that will be lovely, but it’s not required. We’ll bring a card table for shared items. There are no picnic tables. NOTE: At the last Starry Night event, the Friends of Sky Meadows organization was selling hot dogs, candy, chips, soda, coffee, and tea. I’ll let you know as we get closer to July 14 if that is going to happen again.

Sunset will be at approximately 8:35 pm. At 8:30 or so, Sky Meadows will begin their Junior Astronomer program for ages 5-12. This will be followed by a dark skies talk, an adult multimedia program, and a guided sky tour. In the meantime, local amateur astronomers will be setting up their telescopes, each aimed at some deep sky object of their choosing, and we’re all invited to take a look!

We’ll establish an after dark gathering place so that those who would like to relax and gaze at the stars for a while can find each other. That’s where Cathy and I will go after we visit the telescopes.

Sky Meadows is a protected dark sky location. All lights will be off, and there will be no moon. Red filters are required for your flashlights to protect everyone’s night vision. Red plastic and a rubber band do the trick. We’ll have extra supplies available.

Participation in any of the planned activities is optional. You may choose to simply relax on your blanket or chair and appreciate the stars because they’re nice to look at. You may need extra layers to stay warm, and it won’t hurt to throw a tarp in the car in case the ground is damp.

See the detailed program description at http://www.dcr.virginia.gov/state-parks/park-event-info?id=SK180026-04 . If you like looking at printed sky maps, you can get one at http://www.skymaps.com/downloads.html . Scroll down to Northern Hemisphere, Northern Edition. If you like knowing when the sun and moon rise and set, you can print out a monthly calendar for your location at http://www.sunrisesunset.com/.
Restrooms are available.
Cost: There is a $5/car entrance fee.

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