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Staff at Chiricahua National Monument (NM) will be hosting a night sky party Saturday, October 21, 2017, from 6-9 pm at the Faraway Ranch picnic/parking area which is one mile beyond the park entrance. Members from the Tucson Amateur Astronomy Association (TAAA) will have several telescopes set up to focus on features of the night sky.
At 5:30 pm at the Bonita Canyon Campground Amphitheater, Jim O’Connor from TAAA will be presenting “What’s to See Up There?”, an illustrated talk to prepare participants for what they might expect to experience during the telescope viewing.
“Chiricahua NM is known for its dramatic dark sky due to the lack of light pollution from local urban areas. With it being two nights after the new moon the sky should be exceptionally dark,” states event organizer, Jim Knoll from TAAA. Participants might expect to see Saturn, star clusters, nebulae, galaxies, and meteors from the Orionid Meteor Shower which occurs October 20-27. This event is part of the process for Chiricahua NM to receive designation as an International Dark Sky Park.
Participants should bring drinks, snacks, a portable chair or blanket to sit upon, flashlight with a red filter if possible, and dress warmly.
Chiricahua National Monument is located 4 miles east of the AZ HWY 181and 186 junction, and 37 miles southeast of Willcox. Check www.nps.gov/chir for more park information, or call the visitor center staff at 520-824-3560 ext. 9302. For details about the Tucson Amateur Astronomy Association, visit www.tucsonastronomy.org.