No red carpet, but plenty of stars (2011)
Not the entertainment mix you would expect to find in a state park, unless you’re looking through a telescope at a star party.
If clouds don’t become curtains, you can scan the star-studded night skies over Rooster Rock and Stub Stewart parks May 7, National Astronomy Day.
Whether you are a novice or a seasoned stargazer, volunteers will help you look through telescopes set up for the events. OMSI Star Parties and the Rose City Astronomers sponsor the parties.
At Stub Stewart, volunteers will aim their telescopes skyward from the park’s Hilltop Day-use Area. Spring’s big planetary attraction is Saturn, but distant constellations like the Beehive star cluster are there for the viewing.
Rooster Rock’s viewing stage will be the Columbia River bank east of the park’s ranger station.
The stargazing is free, but you will need day-use parking permits at both parks. If the weather looks like the cloud curtain could fall, call the OMSI Star Parties Hotline, 503797-4610, ext. 2, or check the OMSI Star Parties website for cancellations. The serious focusing begins at sunset, around 7:30 p.m., and continues to 11:30 p.m.
Saturn & the International Space Station top the bill at Prineville Reservoir
On May 21, head to the star party at Prineville Reservoir State Park. Saturn is also the star attraction at Prineville’s 12th annual star party, but the planet could be upstaged by the orbiting International Space Station. The amazingly dark central Oregon night sky is the backdrop for you to view Saturn, constellations, nebulae (interstellar clouds of dust and gases) and any other space objects!
A starring cast of regional experts and professional astronomers bring the telescopes and plenty of knowledge to share from noon into the evening. Exhibits and presentations will feature meteorites, deep sky objects and new planets. A how-to demonstration also teaches how to design, build and launch your own rocket. The guided night sky tour begins around 9:30 p.m.