Stars, Mars & Meteors Aug. 11, 12 & 17 (2012)
Join the celestial parties at Prineville Reservoir, Silver Falls, Rooster Rock, Stub Stewart & Pilot Butte
Prineville Reservoir hosts a party with a purpose Aug. 11, 7-11 p.m. The rover Curiosity lands on Mars Aug. 5 and will spend the next 23 months checking whether conditions were once favorable for life on the Red Planet. The free Prineville bash celebrates the mission with rocket launches and astronomy viewing. Bonus: the Perseid meteor shower will be near its peak. Telescopes will be set up in the day-use area. Sponsored by the Oregon Observatory.
The Aug. 11 Silver Falls Star Party is moving to The Meadows in the park this year, but the stars and meteors will still be out. The party begins at 9 p.m. Park in the main day-use parking lot. Look for signs directing you to the viewing area. Park staff and members of Night Sky 45, a Salem astronomy club, will be on hand with telescopes for stargazing. The event is free, but parking is $5.
Silver Falls State Park (park info, directions and map. If you’re driving to the park east on Oregon 22 from Salem, look for road construction signs. Detours may be in place for Oregon 214 leading to the park.)
Watch for streaking over Stub Stewart and Rooster Rock on Aug. 12 during the Perseid Meteor Shower Watch. Events begin at 9 p.m. at both parks, and are sponsored by The Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI), the Rose City Astronomers and the Vancouver Sidewalk Astronomers. OMSI staff will give informal talks about the meteor shower, constellations, and the summer sky. The events are free, but parking is $5. If the weather looks overcast the day of the Watch, call the OMSI Star Parties Hotline, (503) 797-4610, #3 then #5 for cancellation info.
Take a hike up Pilot Butte Aug. 17 for a Star Party hosted by Tumalo State Park and Pine Mountain Observatory. The summit road will close to vehicles for the party (parking in the lot), so allow at least 20 minutes to walk to the top. Telescopes, lasers and expert knowledge on hand.
Pilot Butte State Scenic Viewpoint, Bend (park info, directions and map)