• P.O. Box 28, Round Hill, VA 20142

Starry Night VI – Walk, Picnic, and Stargazing

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Date(s) - October 6, 2018
3:00 pm - 9:00 pm

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Reminders: (1) Expect wet and muddy conditions in the lowest places. An extra pair of shoes and some dry socks to change into after the walk are recommended. (2) It’s best to have $5 cash at the entrance. Credit cards are verified over dial up – painfully slow. If there is no one in the entrance station, you must use the yellow self-pay envelopes, cash or check.

We’ll meet at Sky Meadows State Park for a walk on meadow and stream-side trails, picnic supper, astronomy program, and stargazing during October’s Astronomy for Everyone event.

3:00 – Walk
5:30 – Picnic
6:30 – Astronomy Programs – junior program, adult program, guided sky tour, telescopes, stargaze, fall asleep in the grass

Our approximately 3 mile walk will take us through meadows and along a creek bottom. Hiking boots or sturdy sneakers are needed. The walk includes a few short climbs as the landscape rolls up and down.

After the walk, 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.

Sunset is around 6:45 pm. At 6:30, 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 for stargazing. 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.

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/ .

See the detailed program description at http://www.dcr.virginia.gov/state-parks/park-event-info?id=SK180026-07 . 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. BRING $5 CASH or a $5 CHECK! Credit cards are processed over dial up – very, very slow. Also, if no one is at entrance, you must use one of their self-pay envelopes.

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