The Astronomers of Verde Valley and the Big Park/Village of Oak Creek Dark-Sky Committee are hosting a star party to celebrate Big Park/Village of Oak Creek becoming the world's 14th dark-sky community.
The star party will begin on Wednesday, June 8 at 7:30 p.m. at the south end of the Sedona Collective (formerly Tequa Plaza) with a presentation on our night skies by J.D. Maddy, president of Astronomers of Verde Valley. Viewing opportunities through various telescopes will follow the presentation.
Viewing will begin around 8:30 p.m. and end at 10 p.m. Jupiter, Mars, and Saturn should be visible as the night progresses. There is no charge for this event, and no reservations are required. However, it's always a good idea to arrive a little early to find parking and seating for the presentation.
A four-day old moon, which is near the Bee Hive Cluster, will be setting in the west as the viewing begins. Jupiter and its Galilean Moons will ride high in the southwest in the constellation of Leo, the Lion. Mars will be in the southeast in the constellation of Libra, the Balance. Not far behind, Saturn will be rising in the 13th Zodiacal constellation of Ophiuchus, the Serpent Bearer, as the evening progresses.
If you are interested in learning how to use your digital camera to take photographs of the night sky, Jim Peterson, an American commercial and fine art photographer, will be giving a hands-on workshop prior to the star party. Jim's workshop will begin with a classroom session from 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. on June 8th at the Keep Sedona Beautiful building in Sedona. The workshop will include essential information such as what camera to use, how to set your camera for night sky images, how to focus in the dark, and how to process night sky images. Following the classroom portion of the workshop, attendees will be invited to bring their cameras to the star party at the Sedona Collective, where Jim will help attendees photograph the Milky Way. The workshop costs only $10 per person, and is free to Sedona Camera Club members and KSB members. Registration is limited to 30 students; please call Jim at (928) 554-4340 to register.