Wrap-Up Photo Gallery
Alamo Lake Added to Global Star Park Network!
On March 3, 2011, Alamo Lake State Park (with the Astronomers of Verde Valley) & Kartchner Caverns State Park (with the Huachuca Astronomy Club) were the first state parks in the United States to be granted the "One Star at a Time" award and became a member of the Global Star Park Network. This award acknowledges the public stargazing events held at both parks in an effort to increase awareness of astronomy and preserving dark skies for future generations. The awards were presented by the StarLight Initiative, the One Star at a Time organization and Astronomers Without Borders. The Global Star Park Network aims to protect night environments, educate the public, and improve human habitat.
4th Annual Night Under The Stars: November 6, 2010
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This year's evening Star Party featured 10 telescopes, from off-the-shelf models to custom made scopes! Over 110 people participated in this year's Star Party and the late night Astro Photo Demonstration (photos below). The Star Party is fantastic due to Alamo Lake State Park's dark, clear skies (With a Sky Quality Meter reading of over 21.3!). Many of our viewers were looking through a telescope for the first time and could not believe what they were seeing was millions of light years away!
At dusk over people heard JD Maddy (Event host) & Karen Maddy give an introduction to star gazing and watched a slide show. The clouds persisted, but were clearing. After the slide show Richard Bohner (docent at Lowell Observatory) played Astro Trivia with prizes donated from the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff. (And, even surprisingly, someone knew the 13th zodiac constellation Ophiuchus). After Trivia the skies were clear!
Astro Photography Workshop
JD Maddy, President of the Astronomers of Verde Valley also lead a late night astro photography workshop at the event at 10 pm called "Using a Hyperstar and a DSLR for Astro Photography." Using a telescope, a computer, and a digital SLR camera, users can take fantastic photos of nebulas and celestial objects. JD showed how to use an attachment with a digital Canon XSI camera to take the long exposure photos. NGC253 was the first target with M42, the Orion Nebula following. Everyone was amazed with the quality and detail! Multiple exposures are combined into one image to produce amazing photographs! The composite photos below were all taken at the park over the weekend.
The Eastern most star of Orion's belt, Alnitak, nearly hides the Flame and Horse Head nebulae.
M81 also known as Bodes galaxy joins M82 the Cigar galaxy and the smaller NGC3077 in a circumpolar spin around the North Star Polaris.
Comet Hartley 2 103P stands alone among the stars after passing several clusters and nebula in the past month. With only a 6-year orbit period, it will soon be in our night skies again.
Silver Coin Galaxy (NGC253) is located 6.5 million light years from Earth in the Sculptor Constellation.
M33 galaxy (also known as the Pinwheel Galaxy) could be faintly seen with the naked eye from Alamo Lake State Park. It lies a mere 3 million lights year away from Earth.
The Veil Nebula (NGC6992) is a super nova remnant in the Constellation Cygnus.
For comparison, this picture is the same view of the Veil Nebula (above) that could be seen directly through the telescope without a long camera exposure. Typically, this nebula is very tough to see without a special nebula filter, but at the event it was easily seen by everyone without a filter. The nebula stretched from one side of the eyepiece to the other.
The second part of the Western Veil Nebula (NGC6960) is marked with the bright star Cygni 52.
Everyone's telescopes showed different celestial objects throughout the night. Some of the highlights of the evening included:
- Jupiter and its cloud bands plus three of its Moons.
- Globular cluster, M22.
- M13 (Hercules Cluster), and its neighbor, M92, The Ring Nebula (M57),
- The popular Dumb Bell Nebula (M27)
- M33, the Pinwheel Galaxy.
- The Veil Nebula (NGC6992)
- The somewhat forgotten NGC253, the Silver Coin galaxy
We are already planning next year's 5th Anniversary event! Check back for dates and mark your calendar to join us at this amazing dark sky location! Enjoy the event photos below, please note that no flash photos are taken after dark to protect everyone's night vision.
We'd like to thank the following people and groups who brought out their telescopes and shared their passion and knowledge with the public: Astronomers of the Verde Valley including: JD Maddy (President), Karen Maddy, Richard Bohner, Jerry Madero, Sue Madero, Dennis Casper, and Bev Sass; students from NAU: Bryce McFarland, Nick Stantzos, Nathan Spink, and Matt Bouyn; and Craig Weaver & Jan Weaver!
Special thanks to the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff for generously donating raffle prizes which included books which were given out at the event introduction and Astro Trivia game at sunset.
- Alamo Lake
- Buckskin Mountain
- Cattail Cove
- Lake Havasu
- River Island
- Yuma Quartermaster Depot
- Yuma Territorial Prison
- Dead Horse Ranch
- Fort Verde
- Red Rock
- Riordan Mansion
- Slide Rock
- Verde River Greenway
- Boyce Thompson Arboretum
- Fool Hollow Lake
- Lost Dutchman
- Lyman Lake
- Tonto Natural Bridge