The Central Arkansas Astronomical Society (CAAS), Arkansas’s largest organization of amateur astronomers, and OpticsPlanet, which is recognized as one of the world’s leading online retailers of sport optics, tactical and military gear, hunting gear, and astronomy products, have teamed up to give away a quality portable telescope to one lucky attendee at a CAAS star party this fall. The telescope is a Bushnell ARES 5” Compact Truss Tube Dobsonian Telescope OpticsPlanet Edition and retails for $159.99 at OpticsPlanet.net. http://www.opticsplanet.net/bushnell-dob-5-compact-truss-tube-dobsonian-telescope-opticsplanet-edition.html
CAAS will host three public star parties this fall where attendees can register to win the telescope in a drawing to be held October 29, 2011. The next public star party is this Saturday evening at 8 – 10 p.m. at Pinnacle Mountain State Park at the Visitors Center. CAAS will return to Pinnacle Mountain State Park for another public star party on Saturday evening October 1, 2011. The final star party of the year will be the Halloween Trick-or-Celestial-Treats Star Party at Woolly Hollow State Park, on October 29, 2011, 8 – 10 p.m. That night guests are welcome to wear their Halloween costumes (no face paint please, to protect the telescopes) and the astronomers will have plenty of candy for the kids in addition to the celestial treats. All three events are admission free.
During all three star parties, members of CAAS will be on hand with their large aperture telescopes and will show guests galaxies, nebulae, star clusters, double stars, and constellations. On October 1st, a crescent moon will provide star part guests with beautiful telescopic views. At the October 29th event, the “star” of the show will be the planet Jupiter which will be at “opposition” (or opposite the position of the sun in the sky) and at its closest point in its orbit to earth for the year. If clouds interfere with observing, an indoor program on astronomy will be presented at 9 p.m. at the Pinnacle Mountain State Park star parties. The Woolly Hollow State Park event will be cancelled altogether in the event of clouds.
The telescope contest will be open to all star party guests with a limit of one entry per star party. No purchase is necessary. Members of CAAS, employees of the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism and their immediate family members are ineligible. The drawing will be held near the conclusion of the October 29th Woolly Hollow event (approximately 10 p.m.) or at the November 12th monthly meeting of CAAS in the event of a cancellation. The winner need not be present to win and will be notified the following day if not in attendance for the drawing.