Twinkle, twinkle little star! It was a dazzling night to remember when more than 1000 people recently gathered in celebration of International Astronomy Day at Skye Canyon’s seventh annual Skye & Stars stargazing event with the Las Vegas Astronomical Society (LVAS) at Skye Canyon Park. Families started arriving just as gates opened at 6 p.m. to enjoy picnicking, music, lawn games, food trucks and more before the constellation viewing began after dark from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Attendees of the free, family-friendly event, each received a free, special commemorative pin to add to their growing collection. Donations for LVAS, a nonprofit organization of amateur astronomers formed to promote astronomy in Southern Nevada were also accepted during the event resulting in a $2,500 donation to the impactful organization.
Using telescopes, strategically arranged throughout the park, along with astrophotography, and video cameras, LVAS volunteers used high-powered lasers that pointed directly to celestial events as they guided attendees on a tour of the desert sky.
Guests made an evening of it and brought blankets and lawn chairs to enjoy a picnic in the picturesque park. Attendees were over the moon with the array of food and beverage choices including popular local food trucks like Alpha Dawg, For The Love of Gravy, and Happy Ending Chocolate. Drinks were available from Local 808.
A favorite event for Skye Canyon residents, this year once again featured an in-person, guided tour through the night sky led by Keith Caceres, president of the Las Vegas Astronomical Society. Caceres and his team positioned high-power telescopes throughout the park aimed at specific and noteworthy stars and constellations and used a powerful, high-tech laser pointer to further showcase and point out interesting elements in the night sky.
Some highlights of the sky tour included: the moon, the planet Venus and prominent constellations and stars that were visible in the sky, including Orion, Ursa Major (The Big Bear, containing The Big Dipper), Ursa Minor (The Little Bear, containing The North Star and Little Dipper.)
Las Vegas Astronomical Society is a nonprofit organization of amateur astronomers that was formed to promote astronomy in Southern Nevada for the sole purpose of educating and sharing their passion with those who have an interest in astronomy. They hold regular meetings, observation gatherings; offer educational opportunities and services to schools and youth science programs, service agencies, and other organizations. For more information, visit www.lvastronomy.com.