Updated: 19 March 2017
Since its formation in April 2014, the Oracle Dark Skies Committee has been attending various events around Oracle and Pinal County to talk about its work to have Oracle State Park designated as an "International Dark Sky Park". The Committee also does public outreach on the effects of Light Pollution and how everyone can help reduce the problem and save money as well. Selected past events are mentioned here.
If you would like a Committee member to talk to your company, organization, or group of local residents, please contact Mike Weasner (520-289-3402 or firstname.lastname@example.org).
"International Dark Sky Park" Celebration & Star Party, Oracle State Park, Saturday, 18 March 2017
This was the 2nd Anniversary Celebration of Oracle State Park being designated as an IDA "International Dark Sky Park", recognizing dark skies as a limited resource needing protection and celebrating Oracle as an exceptional place for telescope viewing!
The first event of the day was a "Beginner Digital Astrophotography Workshop", 2-4pm, conducted by Park volunteer Mike Weasner. This Workshop was an introduction to taking nighttime astrophotos using digital cameras or smartphones, with or without or telescope.
At the end of the Workshop there were DOOR PRIZES given out to four lucky workshop participants. The door prizes were provided by Levenhuk Inc. (2 Smartphone Adapters) and Interealtime (2 iOS app NightCap Pro redeem codes). Workshop participants were able to have some astrophotography "playtime" during the nighttime Star Party.
There was Live Music 4:30-6:30pm on the historic Kannally Ranch House patio by the Oracle Ridge Band to entertain the crowd. The band played a dancy 'Americana' mix of country rock and blues favorites, featuring mandolin, steel guitar, bass and drums.
Information tables were set up by the Oracle Dark Skies Committee, International Dark-Sky Association, and the Friends of Oracle State Park:
During a break in the live music Park Ranger Jennifer Rinio (right) and Oracle Dark Skies Committee Chair Mike Weasner (left) welcomed everyone to Oracle State Park and the "International Dark Sky Park" Celebration.
From 6:30pm to nearly 10pm, under the clear and dark sky, the Tucson Amateur Astronomy Association and the Saddlebrooke SkyGazers Club hosted a Star Party with telescopes and interpretation of night sky objects. Many of the nearly 100 Park visitors took advantage of the telescope views of the planets Venus, Mars, and Jupiter, and other objects that were visible in the dark night sky from Oracle State Park.
Mike Weasner gave demonstrations of one of the effects of light pollution. As part of the "playtime" from his Workshop that was held during the afternoon, Mike also demonstrated how even a smartphone can take photographs of the night sky. Here is his iPhone on a camera tripod with a "sky tracker" and the photograph he took of the constellation of Orion and the bright star Sirius taken with the iPhone.
After the telescopes were packed away and people left the Park, Mike Weasner and Dr. John Barentine (IDA) stayed. Here is John setting up a special camera to take sky quality measurements of the night sky at Oracle State Park for use in night sky research by the International Dark-Sky Association.
The "International Dark Sky Park" Celebration & Star Party at Oracle State Park was a big success that was enjoyed by all Park visitors.
Many thanks to the Friends of Oracle State Park for music sponsorship, and the International Dark-Sky Association, members of the Oracle Dark Skies Committee, the Tucson Amateur Astronomy Association, and the Saddlebrooke SkyGazers Club for event support.
Photos by Mike Weasner, Oracle Dark Skies Committee, and John Barentine, International Dark-Sky Association.
Past Events - 2017
Past Events - 2016
Past Events - 2015
Past Events - 2014
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