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Harker Heights Evening Star
Harker Heights Evening Star

CenTex Astronomical Society to host ‘Star Party’

Sara Escobar

Evening Star

The Central Texas Astronomical Society will host free, public star parties this Saturday, February 18. CTAS members will provide telescopes for those who venture out in order to view the visible planets, star clusters, nebulas and galaxies. There will be two star parties Saturday night, one at Overlook Park near Belton, and the other at Hubbard City Lakes Park in Hubbard, Texas. Both events will be from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. and it’s free to attend. Uranus, Mars, and the brilliant Venus are all adorning the night sky this month, as well as many other celestial objects such as the red supergiant star named Betelguese, which is a part of the Orion constellation. Registering for the event is recommended on the official website, but is not required. CTAS recommends those who decide to go dress warmly. In the event of cloudy or unsatisfactory weather, a cancellation notice will be posted on the site’s homepage by 5 p.m.

Courtesy Photo/ CTAS A bolide can be seen on May 7. 2016 at 4:30 a.m. (A bolide is a large meteor that explodes in the atmosphere)

Courtesy Photo/ CTAS
A bolide can be seen on May 7. 2016 at 4:30 a.m. (A bolide is a large meteor that explodes in the atmosphere)

CTAS is a non-profit charitable organization devoted to promoting astronomy throughout Central Texas. As a volunteer organization, all contributions go entirely to the programs and services offered by CTAS. International Dark Sky Association and the Astronomical League are also affiliated with CTAS and promote pollution prevention and various preservation methods.

Each month, CTAS hosts an open house at its Turner Research Station near Clifton, Texas. As another a free event, it is designed to describe CTAS’ activities and to share their passion for astronomy. The open house is always held even if sky conditions are not suitable for viewing, according to their official website, unless severe weather demands closure for safety considerations. There will be a short program, a tour of the observatory, and, weather permitting, visitors may experience the heavens with portable telescopes or live images from the 24-inch Meyer telescope. CTAS encourages people of all ages to attend and experience the night sky’s beauty up close and personal. The next open house is set to be on February 18, starting at 6:30 p.m., with the following one on March 18, from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. The observatory is located at 14801 FM-182 Clifton, Texas.

For more information about CTAS or to get directions to the nearest star party site, visit their website at www.centexastronomy.org.

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