• P.O. Box 28, Round Hill, VA 20142

Starry Night – Picnic, Hike & Stargazing at Sky Meadows State Park 9/16

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Date/Time
Date(s) - September 16, 2017
4:15 pm - 8:30 pm

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In celebration of the fall equinox and all things astronomical, we’ll meet at Sky Meadows State Park for a walk up the mountain, picnic supper, and stargazing during the park’s “Astronomy for Everyone” event. 

We’ll gather in the parking lot near the Visitors Center at 4:15 pm for our walk of about 2 miles. We’ll meander up to the Piedmont Overlook via the Gap Run and North Ridge trails and then return to the grounds near the Visitors Center. There we’ll have our picnic dinner as we enjoy an unobstructed view of the sun going down behind the Blue Ridge. Sunset is at 7:19 pm. 

At 7:30 or so, Sky Meadows will begin their “Astronomy for Everyone” event. The event includes a youth program, adult multi-media program, and a guided star and constellation tour for all. In the meantime, local amateur astronomers will be getting their telescopes set up, each aimed at some deep sky object of their choosing, and we’re all invited to take a look!

See the detailed program description at http://www.dcr.virginia.gov/state-parks/park-event-info?id=SK170025-05. If you like looking at printed sky maps, you can get one at http://www.skymaps.com/downloads.html. Scroll down to Northern Hemisphere, September 2017: Northern Edition. 

For our picnic, we ask that everyone bring their own chair, meal, and beverages. If you feel moved to bring something to share as well, that will be lovely, but it is not required! Sky Meadows is a protected dark sky location. All lights will be off, and there will be no moon. You’ll need a flashlight, preferably with a red filter to maintain our night vision. The park does provide red cellophane if needed. You’ll need extra layers to stay warm, and a tarp and/or blanket are recommended. Restrooms are available.

Participation in any of the scheduled programs is optional. You may choose to simply relax on your blanket or chair and appreciate the stars because they’re nice to look at.

Sky Meadows State Park is on Rt. 17, 1.3 miles south of Rt. 50. There is a $5/car entrance fee.

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