Despite overcast skies, 42 people participated in last Saturday’s Stars-in-the-Park event at Blanco State Park. “We’re just amazed at the level of interest in astronomy,” said Park Interpretive Ranger Laura Cude. “ All these people came out in the cold knowing they couldn’t look at the stars but still wanting to learn about astronomy from our guest lecturers.”
“We had two scout groups,” Ranger Cude continued, “and were fortunate enough to have Ron Carman from Wimberley here. Ron is a certified Boy Scouts of America Astronomy Merit Badge counselor and was a great help with the boys.”
With the group being warmed by a roaring fire in the park pavilion’s rock fireplace, Wayne Gosnell of Blanco gave a talk on light pollution and its effect on the quality of our night skies. Jack Petersen from Johnson City gave an interesting talk on comets, which included a preview of the Comet Ison that will be visible this December. It is possible this comet will be brighter than the Great Comet of 1680, which was so bright it could be seen even in the daytime. Finally, John Watson of Blanco walked participants through wonders of the night sky above Blanco using his Stellarium program.
The next Stars-in-the-Park event at Blanco State Park is tentatively set for Friday, April 19. Details will be forthcoming as the date approaches.