Cherif and I attended the San Jose Astronomical Association’s In Town Star Party on Friday January 3rd. Here was the description of the event as posted on their website:
Interested in learning about the night sky? Come out and look through our members scopes and ask us questions. Featuring faint planet Uranus, colorful double star Albireo, the Ring Nebula, star clusters such as the Seven Sisters.
The viewing party was held at the Houge park which is a nice little park in a neighborhood not too far from Cupertino.
The society members had already fixed their telescopes to the stars that were observable on Friday night. The star gazers hopped from one telescope to the next and asked questions about what they saw. It was a nice friendly atmosphere. There were curious kids and dogs running around. A celebration of the stars.
The event was from 7 to 10 pm. People kept tickling in and out. The aroma of coffee spread around as most people used it to keep themselves warm on this chilly night.
We got to see the planet Jupiter and its visible four moons. We also saw the Orion cluster. We learned that the star betelguse’s initial name was bait-al-jawza (house of the twins). In the medieval times, the Arabs being seafarers were heavily involved in Astronomy and hence a lot of stars have Arabic names.
We also learned that the San Jose Astronomical Society hosts star gazing parties in the summertime at the Glacier Point amphitheater in Yosemite.
Yosemite is a great place for looking at the night sky as the valley is far away from any big city lights. The sky is clear and an ideal for star gazing. We were told that on some nights even our nearest galaxy Andromeda becomes visible!
Cherif and I got an idea of hosting our own star gazing party (after we find a telescope to buy). Maybe a New Years Eve party with a fire pit, smores, acoustic music, and a wonderful sky full of stars 🙂