Last weekend I went to a STAR PARTY!
Lest you think I was hanging out with celebrities or anything else that would require some awareness of pop culture, let me explain that a star party is a “gathering of amateur astronomers for the purpose of observing the sky.”
In my small community, it drew kooks (I use “kook” with all fondness; there’s little I find more charming than a passionate enthusiast) with telescopes & college students whose astronomy classes required attendance.
It was pretty neat, although admittedly I didn’t stay very long because my date was a less than enthusiastic little sister whose idea of a fun Friday night does not include telescopes, not even when they are REALLY big.
Here is my advice if you ever get the chance to attend such an event:
- Wear socks. You will be walking around in pitch black darkness (no lights allowed to avoid light pollution). Under such circumstances, I prefer to have my feet shielded from creepy-crawlies.
- Arrive fashionably late. The event was advertised as beginning at 9:30 &, being a polite, punctual young lady, I arrived very close to on time. Unfortunately, it quickly became apparent that many participants would not arrive until much later. People kept discussing what would be visible around 11 or later… I had no intention of staying that long.
- Go! Even if astronomy isn’t your thing (it’s certainly not mine), it’s a unique opportunity to glean some knowledge from connoisseurs of the night sky.
“All men have the stars,” he answered, “but they are not the same things for different people. For some, who are travelers, the stars are guides. For others they are no more than little lights in the sky. For others, who are scholars, they are problems. For my businessman they were wealth. But all these stars are silent. You—you alone—will have the stars as no one else has them” Antoine de Saint-Exupéry,