Saturn is the star attraction at Prineville Reservoir Star Party (2013)
Central Oregon’s night sky is perfect for viewing Saturn and its rings, the highlight of the annual Prineville Reservoir Star Party Saturday, June 1. The planet shares the night sky with colorful star clusters, nebulae (interstellar clouds of dust and gases) and distant galaxies. Partygoers can peer through Big Doug, the park’s 16-inch telescope, and other telescopes provided by professional and amateur astronomers at
The star party starts at noon with exhibits and activities in the day-use area, including a solar car demonstration at 1 p.m. Afternoon presentations include “So You Want to Go to Mars” (2 p.m.), “Galileo’s Telescope” (3 p.m.), and “Planning Your Next Vacation–in Space!” (4 p.m.).
Evening activities leading up to the main stargazing event include:
- Children’s activities focused on rocketry, impact crater formation, and solar energy.
- Introductory talk on the planet Saturn.
- A special presentation at 7 p.m. by renowned space artist and photographer John Foster focusing on the search for habitable planets outside of our solar system.
- A 30-minute orientation—“A Guided Tour of the Night Sky”—starts at 9:30 p.m.
Planning to spend the night? Tent and RV sites as well as day-use parking are free June 1, State Parks Day (reservation fees still apply). Prineville Reservoir State Park offers nearly 100 campsites–both RV and tent sites–and five deluxe cabins in its main campground. All are reservable online at www.oregonstateparks.org or by phone at 1-800-452-5687. The park’s Jasper Point campground has 30 electrical hook up sites available first-come, first-served.