Jimmy Westlake: Yampa River Star Party this Saturday
This coming Saturday evening, I will be conducting a summer stargazing event out at the Yampa River State Park campground, three miles west of Hayden on U.S. Highway 40, beginning at 9 p.m.
This will be my second “Yampa River Star Party” event. and I am very excited about it! Last summer, we had a great crowd of astronomy enthusiasts and some great stargazing together.
Do you own a homemade or commercial telescope and enjoy sharing celestial sights with other folks? Then, come on down to the banks of the beautiful Yampa River Saturday night and set up your ‘scope for some shared public viewing.
Do you have a telescope that is gathering dust and cobwebs in the attic because you aren’t sure how to use it or maybe it is missing a piece? Then, bring it on down to the Star Party, and I or someone else will see if we can get you operational.
Do you not own a telescope but would love the opportunity to see some celestial sights for yourself, like the cratered Moon, the phase of Venus, the giant moons of Jupiter and the rings of Saturn? Then the Yampa River Star Party is for you, too!
When the sun goes down Saturday night and the stars pop out, we hope to have lots of different kinds and sizes of telescopes aimed skyward for all to peep through. The planets Venus, Jupiter and Saturn will be putting on a great show, perfectly placed for viewing. I will be your host and will provide a guided tour of the summer sky.
The Yampa River Star Party is appropriate for all ages, so bring the whole family. Park officials remind us that a valid annual Colorado State Parks pass or daily pass is required on all vehicles. Daily passes will be available on site.
Besides your favorite telescope, I would recommend bringing along a camp chair or two, some insect repellant, a small red-filtered flashlight and a warm jacket for the cool night air after sundown.
To get to the Yampa River State Park campground from Steamboat Springs, take U.S. 40 west to Hayden. Continue on U.S. 40 another 3 miles west of Hayden and turn left into the campground. From Craig, head east on U.S. 40 for 14 miles and turn right into the campground.
The Star Party will be held at the group picnic area in the heart of the campground. We’ll start the stargazing at 9 p.m. I hope to see you there!
Professor Jimmy Westlake teaches astronomy and physics at Colorado Mountain College’s Alpine Campus. His “Celestial News” column appears weekly in the Steamboat Today newspaper and his “Cosmic Moment” radio spots can be heard on local radio station KFMU. Check out Jimmy’s astrophotography website at http://www.jwestlake.com.
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The Lower and Central Yampa River Basin, which include Craig, Hayde, Rangely, Dinosaur and Meeker, will be under a winter storm warning from the National Weather Service starting at 6 a.m. Thursday.