A great chase is taking place across the night sky. Orion the hunter, with his familiar belt, has his trusty hunting companion dogs, Canis Major and Canis Minor in hot pursuit of the rabbit, Lepus.
On Saturday, February 11, at 6:00pm visitors to Blanco State Park have an opportunity to see this great chase being acted out in the stars at “Stars in the Park.”
Volunteer astronomers will guide visitors through the star clusters, constellations and galaxies that can be seen that night. First, as the night sky darkens, you will be shown a beautiful program called Stellarium which will orient you to the entire night sky; what will be visible and what you are likely to see.
Then you will step outside and have individual stars and planets pointed out in the now familiar sky. Individual astronomers with telescopes will then invite you over to have a closer look at these heavenly bodies.
Visitors coming out to the park should dress warmly for the weather and bring a flashlight. Red filters will be available to put over the flashlight at 6:00pm. These filters are necessary to preserve night vision.
In November, Blanco State Park had almost 100 visitors come to the “Stars in the Park” program, so please plan to arrive at or before 6:00pm so that you and your family can park and get to the event before night falls.
For families with children from ages 6 to 12 there is another opportunity to become familiar with the night sky. On February 4, the Saturday before “Stars in the Park”, at 2:00pm Blanco State Park will host the monthly “Kids Corps” program and will focus on constellations. Kids coming to the program will make a star finder for the February night skies and learn a game for it. They will hear some of the stories of the constellations and have a chance to invent their own constellation and story.
Both events are free with a day entry permit into Blanco State Park - $4.00 for those 13 and older, free for those 12 and young and Texas State Park Pass holders. For more information, contact Park Headquarters at 830-833-4333.