Beautiful Pinnacle Mountain State Park and the members of Central Arkansas Astronomical Society hosted an estimated two hundred star party guests on Saturday evening June 25, 2011– many of those returning from previous CAAS events. The star party guests and CAAS members were treated to a gorgeous evening sky that was included the summer constellations, several satellite passes including 2 Iridium “flares,” the Ring Nebula, the Hercules Cluster, Alberio, Alcor and Mizar, and other double stars, and fan favorite Saturn. A highlight of the evening was John Reed zeroing in on the super nova in the Spiral Galaxy, M-51 with his 18” Dobsonian telescope. .
CAAS Members in attendance included Susan Staffeld, Robert Brown, Jim Dixon, Samantha Dixon, John Reed, Chelsea Reed, Bill Sanders, Carl Freyaldenhoven, Chris Spotts, Don Lewis, Pat and Sandy Morris, Don and Carolina Ferren, and Jim Fisher.
It was a bitter sweet evening in that we saw Susan Staffeld in her role as State Park Interpreter for the final time. Next week Susan starts a new job with the Arkansas Highway Commission and we wish her great success as she embarks on an exciting career opportunity. However, CAAS thanks Susan for her outstanding tenure at Pinnacle Mountain and especially her enthusiastic and expert dedication to the Park’s astronomy related programs. Well done, Susan!
The good news is Susan is a card carrying member of CAAS and we will see her at future CAAS events in her civvies.
For those who stay to the end, 11 p.m. rolled around way too soon.
Arkansas Chapter Leader
International Dark-Sky Association