Wyoming Stargazing is hosting a kick-off event for the Save Our Night Skies Campaign on Thursday, February 19th, beginning at 5:30pm at the Center for the Arts. This event is part of a larger art show at the Center that is being co-sponsored by the Center of Wonder and Wyoming Stargazing. This Upyard Art Show will highlight the artwork of about a dozen local artists whose work depicts our Upyard, as opposed to our backyard, during the day time and night.
We are also going to have several local artists, including preschool kids from the Children’s Learning Center and Carrie Wild, each paint a Dobsonian telescopes with either a 6″ and 8″ primary mirror. Those fully-functional telescopes will be auctioned off with a silent auction during the Opening Night of the Upyard Art Show, also on Thursday, February 19th. The total auction price of each telescope will be split 50/50 between the artists and Wyoming Stargazing.
We’ll also have our Board Member Mike Cavaroc there to show and talk about his documentary film about the night skies over Jackson. There will be a table with plenty of information about light pollution in Jackson and about how you can get involved with our efforts to reduce it.
After the telescope auction, as long as the weather cooperates, we’ll go outside for some stargazing.
The Center of Wonder and Wyoming Stargazing will be providing hors d’oeuvres and wine. So, please join us for some food and drink, some amazing artwork, a chance to bid on a beautiful telescope, and to view the night sky through our new telescope with a 20″ primary mirror! No need to RSVP.
Weather permitting, Wyoming Stargazing will be offering a free public stargazing program following Bill Nye’s presentation at the Center for the Arts this Thursday, February 5th, from 8pm-9:30pm.
We’ll be on the pathway that goes through the field to the south of the Center. Let’s hope for clear skies!!!
If you haven’t already heard the word on the street, starting at about 10:16am directly above Jackson, Wyoming on Monday, August 21st 2017 we’re going to have a total solar eclipse. I know it’s still two and a half years away, but that hasn’t stopped people from all over the world from booking hotels in Jackson for that week. I’ve personally received inquiries from England, Belgium, and the Netherlands, not to mention another dozen or so from folks all over the US. So, if you’re planning on coming to Jackson for the eclipse book your hotel soon because they are filling up fast!
Although there are lost of places around the continental US from which to view the eclipse, Jackson is poised to be one of the best. I mean, come on, where else can you go to see a total solar eclipse with a bald eagle flying over head, bison grazing in the foreground, 13,000 ft peaks behind you, grizzly bear, moose, and elk frolicking off to the side, and the howl of a wolf in the distance. Well, maybe not all of those critters at the same moment, but you get the idea.
The charismatic mega fauna aside, seeing the total solar eclipse is really the once in a lifetime opportunity. To help you out, Wyoming Stargazing has set up a new page on our website with all the information you’ll need to keep track of. The URL for that page is:
It’s under our Programs link in the main menu on the homepage.
We hope to see you in Jackson on August 2017!
If you’re looking for a New Year’s miracle in astronomy, Comet C/2014 Q2 (Lovejoy) is about the closest thing to it. Discovered back in August, the comet was never supposed to achieve naked-eye visibility, but it already has! It will continue to brighten when it’s expected to peak some time around January 7th where it will be near Rigel and the Orion constellation. As of this writing, it’s currently on its way out of Lepus and heading higher and higher into the night sky.
Moonlight will distract from getting a perfectly clear viewing through early January as we reach a full moon on January 4th, but the moon will start setting later and later after that, making the second week in January ideal for watching the comet. Don’t get too discouraged now though! With a pair of binoculars aimed in the right direction, the comet can be easily found and viewed, and since it’s growing in brightness, it will get even easier to spot with the naked eye.
The comet was named after Terry Lovejoy from Australia who has found several comets in recent years. It was 4,000 dimmer than it is now when he first discovered it and its rotation around our sun takes roughly 11,500 years! Due to the planets’ effects on the comet, it’s expected to return in roughly 8,000 years.
Check out the great printable map from Sky & Telescope on the right to see exactly where to look. For more detail and information on the comet, you can also read their article on Comet Lovejoy.