Kevin Standlee (kevin_standlee) wrote,
Kevin Standlee

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To The Stars

It was a little farther that we were comfortable walking in the night chill here at 6000 feet, so we drove (over the safe route past the high school) to the Tonopah Stargazing Park tonight after dinner. The park is a fenced off area with four concrete pads at the corners with picnic tables (good places for setting up telescopes) and a center concrete square with benches (I would have liked to have had a pillow). The west-facing portion of the fence is covered to reduce light coming from Tonopah. Unfortunately, a truck stop built behind the Texaco station has installed large lights that are not well aimed, and that's contaminating the viewing. Also, even only a few days past new, the Moon was very bright. Viewing conditions were thus not ideal. However, there were still vastly more stars than we usually see even at home in Fernley (which isn't exactly the most well-lit place) and the Milky Way was easily visible arching over us. Just after we arrived and were getting out of the car, a large shooting star that lasted several seconds blasted through. We went into the viewing area and let our eyes adjust, and we both saw several more shooting stars. And also quite a few airplanes passing overhead, at what seemed like streetcar frequencies.

We spent maybe 30-40 minutes enjoying the view. We're glad we made the time to come look at the stars. I can imagine what this must be like to a dedicated sky-watcher on a moonless night in July with pleasant weather. Lisa says I should write to the town and say they should get that truck stop to re-aim their lights, though.
Tags: stars, tonopah

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