Past Events 2014
Updated: 18 November 2014
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. Some 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).
Copper Corridor Economic Development Coalition, 18 April 2014
Discussed the newly formed Oracle Dark Skies Committee, what it was doing for Oracle State Park, and the economic benefits to Pinal County anticipated by receiving the "International Dark Sky Park" designation.
"Music in the Park", Oracle State Park, Sunday, 27 April 2014
"San Pedro Riverfest", held in Winkelman, Arizona, on Saturday, 3 May 2014
Star Party, Catalina State Park, 19 April 2014
"Astronomy for Everyone: Size and Scale of the Universe", sponsored by the Oracle Public Library, 27 May 2014
Oracle Women's Network, 6 June 2014
Discussed the work of the Oracle Dark Skies Committee.
Oracle Historical Society, 8 June 2014
Presented a briefing on the work of the Oracle Dark Skies Committee.
Copper Corridor Economic Development Coalition, 20 June 2014
Updated the CCEDC on the Oracle State Park "International Dark Sky Park" nomination.
"Live Music & Star Party", Oracle State Park, 21 June 2014
Report with photos are available here.
Pinal County Board of Supervisors, 2 July 2014
Appeared before the Board of Supervisors to request approval for a "Letter of Support" from the Supervisors.
A 5 minute video of the appearance before the Board of Supervisors is available online (76 MB) courtesy of Pinal County:
Click image to view video
Lecture Series, Saddlebrooke Ranch, 5 August 2014
ODSC briefing presented to about 55 residents of Saddlebrooke Ranch. The audience seemed definitely interested in what the Committee has done with Oracle State Park and the message of its public outreach.
Full Moon Night Hike, Oracle State Park, 9 August 2014
A monsoon storm was visible to the east, as seen in this photo taken before visitors arrived showing a telescope and the rising moon:
The weather cooperated for both the hike and some viewing of the nearly full moon, Saturn, and Mars through the ETX-105PE telescope. In addition, the ODSC passed out some IDA brochures and did a light pollution demonstration.
Dark Skies and Emerging Technologies Conference, Flagstaff, AZ, 18-20 August 2014
Mike Weasner represented the Oracle Dark Skies Committee and Arizona State Parks at this important dark sky conference. His report is available online.
Stargazing, Triangle Y Ranch, Oracle, AZ, 30 August 2014
Mike Weasner attended a stargazing event at Triangle Y Ranch. The Ranch had set up an 8" Dobsonian. I set up my 12x70 binoculars on a photographic tripod and showed the Ranch guests M31 (Andromeda Galaxy). I also talked about the night sky and Artifical Light at Night (ALAN), and gave a demonstration of light pollution.
GLOW, Triangle L Ranch, 6 September 2014
The Oracle Dark Skies Committee was present at the first GLOW of 2014 at Triangle L Ranch. Unfortunately, while it had been planned to set up a telescope for viewing, as seen in the photo taken 30 minutes prior to heading to the Ranch, the sky was stormy:
But our table was set up:
Some scenes of GLOW from near our table:
Many GLOW visitors came up to the table to learn about the Committee's work with Oracle State Park and to see a demonstration of "light pollution". Several visitors were VERY excited about the prospects of Oracle State Park becoming an "International Dark Sky Park".
GLOW, Triangle L Ranch, 13 September 2014
Table and ETX-105PE telescope set up at sunset:
Over 100 guests were able to view Saturn through the telescope. Loved hearing the "oohs" and "ahs" as people, young and old, got their first view of the planet Saturn. After Saturn was too low in the sky, some guests viewed M17 (Swan Nebula) and M22 (a globular cluster).
Many guests were delighted to hear about the plans to have Oracle State Park designated as an "International Dark Sky Park" and greatly appreciated the work of the Oracle Dark Skies Committee to preserve our natural night sky resource.
Star Party, Kartchner Caverns State Park, 20 September 2014
The ODSC at the Kartchner Caverns State Park:
Photo by Bob Gent
In the afternoon, some visitors to the Park were able to view the sun through solar telescopes provided by the Huachuca Astronomy Club:
Unfortunately, cloud cover hampered the viewing at times.
Prior to the start of evening viewing, Connie Walker from the National Optical Astronomy Observatory gave a talk on the "Preservation of the Night Sky". Here she is (on the right) being introduced by Bob Gent of the Huachuca Astronomy Club:
During Connie's talk it rained at the Park, forcing some scrambling to cover telescopes that had been set up. After the talk the sky was partly cloudy but still offered Park visitors the opportunity to view many celestial objects through the small and large telescopes that had been set up (and dried off).
Several visitors stopped by the ODSC table and heard about the work of the Committee to have Oracle State Park designated as an "International Dark Sky Park" and pick up literature on light pollution. At night, a demonstration of one of the problems of light pollution was demonstrated at the table and it was well received and very popular.
GLOW, Triangle L Ranch, 4 October 2014
Charlotte Poole and Mike Weasner represented the Oracle Dark Skies Committee at GLOW this night. Here is the table and ETX-105PE telescope set up:
About 200 guests came by during the event to look through the telescope and hear about light pollution and the Committee's work. Those who came early were treated to a view of Saturn low in the southwest. After Saturn was too low for good viewing, the waxing gibbous moon was the main viewing object. Most got to see this magnified view of the southern region (photo by Mike Weasner using an iPhone 5s):
A few visitors were able to view the moon at a lower magnification showing the entire illuminated moon (photo by Mike Weasner using an iPhone 5s):
Adults and children alike were excited by what they saw through the telescope. One young boy was so fascinated that he didn't want to leave. He was fairly knowledgeable about the night sky and asked to see more. He got to view the planet Uranus through the telescope. Although it appeared small it did show a disk, revealing that it was a planet, not a star.
GLOW, Triangle L Ranch, 11 October 2014
About 100 of the guests of the final GLOW of 2014 stopped by to learn about dark skies and look through the ETX-105PE telescope that the Oracle Dark Skies Committee had set up. Evaline Auerbach (seen below), Charlotte Poole, and Mike Weasner represented the Committee this night.
The moon did not rise until about 8:30pm so early guests were able to view Saturn, then a globular cluster and the Swan Nebula in the constellation of Sagittarius. While waiting for the moon to rise enough for viewing, the final deep sky object viewed was the Pleiades star cluster. Once the moon was in good position, visitors were treated to views of the waning gibbous moon (as seen in this iPhone handheld photograph through the telescope taken by Mike Weasner):
Saddlebrooke Skygazers Club, 12 October 2014
Mike Weasner gave a presentation about the work of the Oracle Dark Skies Committee and light pollution at a meeting of the Saddlebrooke Skygazers Club. About 25 members were in attendance and were excited to learn about Oracle State Park being designated as an "International Dark Sky Park".
Star Party, Catalina State Park, 18 October 2014
Stan Bembenek (left) and Mike Weasner (right) attended the star party at Catalina State Park:
The evening was mostly cloudy, which severely hampered views through the telescopes brought by members of the Tucson Amateur Astronomy Association. But the initial talk on Native American night sky cultural by one of its members was well received:
The number of visitors was way down from the expected turnout due to the clouds and by 8 PM most of the visitors had left. Stan and Mike left shortly after that. Those that did come by the ODSC table were excited to hear that Oracle State Park is now an "International Dark Sky Park" and learned more about light pollution.
El Rancho Robles guest ranch, 17 November 2014
Presentation and star party for an association of premier travel professionals in the United States and Bermuda. Here was the ODSC set up:
Two telescopes were provided by the Ranch and used to show the travel agents the Ring Nebula, Mars, and the colorful double star Albireo:
Here are some of the travel agents singing to some live music:
The travel agents were excited to hear about Oracle State Park being honored as the 20th "International Dark Sky Park" in the world. There was much applause and cheering on the announcement.
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