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Harker Heights Evening Star
Harker Heights Evening Star

CTAS Public Star Party set for this Saturday

Special to the HHES

The Omega Nebula (M17) lies just above the teapot asterism in the constellation Sagittarius.  M17 contains an open star cluster (NGC 6618), which causes it to glow from the radiation of these hot, young stars.  Besides being one of the youngest star clusters known, it is considered to be among the largest of the star-forming regions within our galaxy.

The Central Texas Astronomical Society will host free public star parties on Saturday, August 12th, from 8:30pm to 11:30pm at Overlook Park near Belton and the Hubbard City Lakes Park in Hubbard.  Sunset is at 8:15pm.  CTAS members will provide telescopes to view the visible planets and a selection of star clusters, nebulas, and galaxies.

We will look at gas giant Jupiter early in the evening, as it appears low in the west and will set around 10:30pm.  Ringed planet Saturn is high in the sky for optimal viewing all evening.  The Nasa Cassini mission at Saturn will end in September, but continues to send back spectacular images.  Pluto is located in Sagittarius this month.  The Nasa New Horizons mission has shown Pluto to be far more interesting than we ever imagined. Pluto has an atmosphere, ice mountains, tectonic activity, and is believed to have liquid water beneath the surface.

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.  In the event of cloudy weather, a cancellation notice will be posted on the CTAS website homepage by 6:00pm.  If you register for this event on our website, you can receive monthly notices of our future events.

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