“Look! Up in the sky! It’s a moon, a planet, wait, it’s Betelgeuse one of Orion’s brightest stars!”
That’s was the kind of buzz happening among the more than 1,500 people who gathered at Skye Canyon Park Saturday, May 11 for the 4th Annual Skye & Stars, an evening of stargazing with the Las Vegas Astronomical Society (LVAS). The free event was open to the public, and people from all corners of the valley showed up with picnic baskets full of goodies, blankets, and a deep curiosity about the night sky.
All attendees received a free Skye Canyon glow bracelet. As night fell, the park felt festive as stargazers moved about with blue bracelets aglow. There were gasps from little kids who received a boost from mom or dad to peer through telescopes, getting their first view of Mars and the moon’s texture. For adults, looking at Beehive galactic cluster in constellation Cancer brought back memories of a favorite college astronomy class and even a few star-filled camping trips. While volunteers with LVAS, a nonprofit organization of amateur astronomers dedicated to educating and sharing their passion with Southern Nevada, explained what attendees were viewing through telescopes and offered tours of the night sky using a high-powered laser that can point directly to celestial events, there were plenty of questions and a lot of enthusiasm for learning about the universe.
The weather was picnic-perfect, and attendees started to fill Skye Canyon Park around 7 p.m., assembling their spread of favorite treats while catching up with family and friends. REI was onsite with glow in the dark hammocks, which were a big hit with kids and adults, alike. Food trucks also served treats as did Skye Bistro inside Skye Center. Also, inside Skye Center, kids were treated to a screening of “Star Wars: Return of the Jedi.”
“This was our most well attended Skye & Stars event to date,” said Desiree Van Leer, marketing manager of Olympia Companies, developer of Skye Canyon. “The energy among the crowd was terrific. It’s great to see our city’s thirst for learning about the night sky.”
A few lucky stargazers took home prizes from the Skye & Stars raffle, like a North Face jackets, a Kleen Kateen, and one lucky winner received an AWB OneSkye telescope.
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