Jupiter, also known as the King of Planets, will dominate the night sky at the May 12 Star Party at Prineville Reservoir State Park. Everyone is invited to see the King of Planets, colorful star clusters, nebulae (interstellar clouds of dust and gases) and distant galaxies.
“Remote central Oregon skies are typically clear and generally free of light pollution, the optimum mix for unforgettable views of night sky objects,” said Paul Patton, resource specialist with the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD). “Because of its location and amenities, the Prineville Reservoir is an incredible stargazing location. The annual star party is a great early-summer activity for everyone to enjoy.”
Saturday will kick off at 1pm with a guided stroll through the solar system. Presentations at 1pm and 2pm will focus on Night Sky Wonders and the Sun, respectively. Young rocketeers can design, build and then safely launch their rockets at 4pm. Renowned space artist and photographer John Foster will lead an audience-driven space art presentation at 7pm. Foster will tap into the creativity and imagination of the audience to create a unique work of art, which will be given to a lucky participant. At 9:30pm, “partygoers” will gather at a permanent observatory housing “Big Doug,” a 16-inch telescope. Visitors can peer through it and other telescopes provided by professional and amateur astronomers.
Returning this year is the popular Virtual Reality Experience Station—goggles provided. Other activities include a solar viewing station; a telescope technology display; various children’s activities focused on astronomical science; and an exhibit of John Foster’s space art and photography.
Prineville Reservoir State Park offers nearly 70 campsites—both RV and tent sites—and five deluxe cabins in the main campground. All are reservable online at www.oregonstateparks.org or by phone at 1-800-452-5687. Another 26 electrical hookup sites in the park’s Jasper Point campground are available first-come, first-serve.
The Oregon Observatory at Sunriver and OPRD are co-organizers of the 19th annual Star Party. Prineville Reservoir State Park is located 16 miles southeast of Prineville on Southeast Juniper Canyon Road. More information and directions are available at www.oregonstateparks.org.