• P.O. Box 28, Round Hill, VA 20142

Starry Night V – Hike, Picnic, and Stargazing

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Date(s) - September 8, 2018
3:30 pm - 9:00 pm

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———- NOTE ———-
Do not underestimate the cooling power of wet clothes, especially with the temperature in the 60s tomorrow. Hypothermia comes on quite quickly, especially if you have low body fat. Hypothermia is surprisingly debilitating. Please be sure to bring on the hike a waterproof jacket and clothes that you trust to keep you warm even when they get wet (not cotton). Maybe even a polar fleece hat in case in case you do get chilled. Also highly recommended: a complete change of clothes and socks/shoes to leave in the car and a plastic bag for your wet stuff.

ALSO NOTE: No wifi at Sky Meadows. $5 cash is best at entrance, if possible. Credit cards are verified over dial up – very slow.

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

3:30 – Hike
6:30 – Picnic
7:30 – Astronomy Programs – junior, then adult, then guided sky tour
8:45 – Look through telescopes, stargaze, fall asleep in the grass

Red filters are required for your flashlights to preserve everyone’s night vision. Red plastic and a rubber band do the trick. We’ll have extra supplies available. Why? Upon exposure to darkness, our pupils dilate in a matter of seconds, our cones adapt in 10 minutes, and our rods adapt completely after several hours. Every time we’re exposed to white light, we have to wait while our eyes re-adapt. Visit http://wtamu.edu/~cbaird/sq/2013/08/09/how-long-does-it-take-our-eyes-to-fully-adapt-to-darkness/ .

The hike to Ambassador Whitehouse Overlook is about 3.5 miles round trip with a gain of 850 feet and is rated Moderate for people who hike regularly. Compared to your everyday neighborhood walk, this hike is strenuous.

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 (FOSM) organization was selling hot dogs, candy, chips, soda, coffee, and tea.

Around sunset, 7:30 pm or so, Sky Meadows will begin their Junior Astronomer program. This will be followed by 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 for stargazing. That place will be marked with a stool with a red light on it. A reclining beach chair is best. You may need extra layers to stay warm after dark, 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=SK180026-06 . 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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