(Star Party visitor and telescope | Photo courtesy of Oregon Parks and Recreation Department)
The annual Star Party event at Prineville Reservoir State Park turns 20 this year and Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD) is celebrating with a full day of space-related events on May 4. The event is free and will feature kayak tours, astronomy exhibits, scientist-led presentations, model rocket building and launching, and stargazing with provided telescopes.
“It’s an important milestone and we’re excited to celebrate the stars with the community again this year,” said Paul Patton, OPRD resource specialist. “Prineville Reservoir is one of the best spots in Oregon for stargazing and the event is a great start-of-summer activity for everyone to enjoy.”
List of activities:
- 9-11:30am Kayak tours of the reservoir, led by park staff. Space is limited; reserve your seats online at the state parks event page.
- 1pm “Solar System Stroll” presentation. Learn about each planet in our cosmic neighborhood from Oregon Observatory volunteers.
- 1-4pm Visit each star party exhibit: safe solar viewing station; meteorite display; virtual reality experience station; telescope displays; space photos and artwork from renowned artist John Foster; various children’s activities focused on astronomical science; information on stars and planets and more.
- 2pm & 3pm Join Oregon Observatory speakers to learn about the proposed first human missions to Mars and how astronauts will survive on the Red Planet.
- 4pm Young rocket scientists can design, build and safely launch their own rockets.
- 7pm Bob Grossfeld, Oregon Observatory director and NASA representative, will present an update on current space exploration missions.
- 9:30pm Join other stargazers at the permanent observatory housing to peer through various telescopes generously provided by professional and amateur astronomers. The largest telescope, nicknamed Big Doug, is 16-inches in diameter.
OPRD partners with the Oregon Observatory at Sunriver for the event.