Horseshoe Bend Stargaze
November 1, 2008
On November 1,the Auburn Astronomical Society met at Horseshoe Bend National Military Park the invitation of park ranger and host for the event, Randall Becker who made special arrangements for the park to be open after dark for the stargaze. Rand began the indoor portion of the program including some Creek, Cherokee, and Mississippian star lore at 7:00. At the conclusion of the indoor presentation, the guests came out to enjoy their views through the telescopes. Among the celestial objects we shared with the visitors:
• Jupiter and the four Galilean moons;We had at least one example each of the three most common telescope optical configurations: A refractor (uses lenses), a Newtonian (uses Mirrors) and a Schmidt-Cassegrain (uses both lens and mirrors).
Thanks to the following AAS members volunteered their time and telescopes:
And, thanks again to Rand and park ranger Heather Tassin for their help in hosting the event.
We had clear, dark skies for the Horseshoe Bend star gaze. Horseshoe Bend National Military Park is located 12 miles north of Dadeville on Hwy 49, about one hour from Auburn-Opelika; and 1.5 hours from Montgomery. Representing AAS were: our host, Rand Becker, along with Scott Thompson, Brent Holman, Russell Whigham, Frank Ward, and Allen & Christi Screws. Rand estimated that we had about 70 guests attending.
Rand began the indoor slideshow at 7:00 with a short Power Point presentation covering light pollution awareness, basic orientation to the night sky and some Creek/Cherokee star myths.
About 7:30, the guests exited onto the field behind the park's main building where we had the telescopes set up: Rand, with his 70mm refractor on the 3-day old Moon; Scott, and his 7-inch AstroPhysics refractor on the Great Orion Nebula; Frank, using tripod mounted binoculars,on the Moon and Pleiades; Allen, using the AAS 8-inch Dobsonian, on the Andromeda Galaxy and later, Saturn; and Russell, with hte Celestron C-11, viewing the Crab Nebula, M41, and M46. We also pointed out naked-eye objects, including the Double Cluster in Perseus, the Beehive Cluster and several fainter Milkyway clusters.
On Saturday, October 8, 2016, the AAS conducted a star gaze for the staff and visitors of Horseshoe Bend National Military Park near Dadeville, AL. The weather was clear with a first quarter moon. Many thanks to the five AAS members who were able to come and set up their scopes for viewing. First, the park staff held an indoor orientation program for the visitors before coming outside later to view the sky. Some of the objects viewed were the Moon, Mars, Saturn, M31, M57 and the double cluster in Perseus.
We also learned that the park has purchased five new telescopes to be used in future astronomy outreach programs. There might be another possible star gaze here in February of 2017. At some point, they might also want to schedule a private star gaze with AAS members so that the park personnel can learn more about the scopes and how to use them. Many thanks to AAS member Mike Lewis for the report and also for these photos below that he took at the event.