Friday evening, July 21, treat yourself to the exhilarating experience of looking deep into space at the planets, moon and stars. Each month of the year Kanab’s nonprofit Stellar Vista Observatory (SVO) hosts a free star party for public enjoyment and appreciation of the night sky.
Now that mid-summer is here and nights are warm and comfortable, if you head over at 9:00 PM to the Jackson Flat Reservoir boat launch parking area, you’ll find SVO’s telescopes aimed at the planets Mars, Venus and Mercury, all three in a nice lineup with an extra celestial delight right nearby; the crescent moon at 15% illumination. If you own a telescope, bring it over and join the fun.
When we observe light from a star, we’re actually looking backward in time; engaging, you could say, in time travel. That light you see emanating from the star streamed forth long ago. But it’s now just reaching your eye, traveling at the inconceivable speed of 186,000 miles per second!
For example if you look at the red giant star Arcturus, 4th brightest in the sky, located in the constellation of Bootes, the light you see left that star 37 years ago! Contrast that with sunlight reflected back to Earth from the planet Venus at an average time of 4 minutes, or the moon at a mere 1.27 seconds!
If you’ve been waiting for an opportunity to take in the extraordinary experience of looking into the heavens, learn little about the constellations, and see the different colors of light emitted by stars, this may be the time. SVO’s telescopes will take you there. Come and enjoy the ride!