Saturday, 7/12/2019 | : : UTC-5
Harker Heights Evening Star
Harker Heights Evening Star

CTAS Public Star Parties returns to Overlook Park

Special to the HHES

The Central Texas Astronomical Society will host free public star parties on Saturday, March 18th, from 8:00 pm to 11:00 pm at Overlook Park near Belton and the Hubbard City Lakes Park in Hubbard.  Sunset is at 7:40 pm, with full darkness by 8:04 pm.  CTAS members will provide telescopes to view the visible planets and a selection of star clusters, nebulas, and galaxies.

The Beehive cluster (M44) is an open star cluster in the constellation Cancer.  Open cluster Messier 47, in the constellation Puppis, contains about 50 stars and is 1600 light years from the earth.  M35, a large bright open cluster, and the Eskimo Nebula (NGC2392) are located in the constellation Gemini (the twins).  To locate Gemini, look for two bright stars, Castor and Pollux, to the upper left of Orion.

Gas giant Jupiter returns to our star party skies this month, rising at 9pm.  Jupiter’s four brightest moons will be easy to identify on Saturday. Callisto and Europa will be on one side of Jupiter, Io and Ganymede on the other.  Europa and Io will be closer to Jupiter, with Io being the closest.  Mars will be low in the west, right after sunset.

We will look at these and many other celestial objects this month.  Please check our web site, http://www.centexastronomy.org, for more information and directions to the site closest to you.  Dress warmly.  Clear nights cool off quickly.  In the event of cloudy weather, a cancellation notice will be posted on the CTAS website homepage by 6:00 pm.

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