View the dark skies through telescopes at Catalina State Park

View the dark skies through telescopes at Catalina State Park

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - If you have a sense of curiosity about those twinkling lights in the night sky, come to Catalina State Park for the next Star Party on Saturday, February 21, 2015 from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. As news evolves everyday from the many probes into our universe, everyone seems to be more fascinated about night skies including details like the rings around Saturn and tracking down glittering galaxies. A galaxy can be only 2½ million light-years away and you can see it with the naked eye. Now imagine what you can see with the 10 big telescopes that astronomers will have at Catalina State Park! Telescopes can get you to those ghostly nebulae, star clusters, the moon's cratered landscapes, and Venus' crescent phases.

The event will start with an introduction by Jim O'Connor, who will talk about the emerging night sky and mix the science we know with the viewpoint of many cultures. Discussion including, where is the North Star, how does the sky rotate, what is the path of the Sun, Moon and planets through the sky, will be intermixed with the use of features of the sky by other cultures: Navajo, Cherokee, Seminole, Egyptian, North African, Hindu and Mediterranean.

The event is supported by the Tucson Amateur Astronomy Association. Astronomers will be onsite to answer questions and discuss the elements of the night sky as darkness descends. Visitors should meet at the main trailhead parking lot. When the night sky arrives, astronomers will volunteer their expertise and telescopes for visitors to view an assortment of night sky attractions including star clusters, galaxies and nebulae. Visitors should bring water, snacks, a red light (to protect everyone's night vision), sweater or jacket.

Catalina State Park's Entrance Fee is $7 per vehicle (up to four adults). Primitive to full hookup camping sites are available at a fee of $15 to $30 depending on the type of camping site needed. Catalina State Park is located on State Highway 77 (Oracle Road) at mile marker 81, just nine miles north of Tucson and six miles north of Ina Road.

For information about all 28 Arizona State Parks, the Trails and Off-Highway Vehicle Programs and State Historic Preservation Office call (602) 542-4174 or visit

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