Woolly Hollow State Park Spring Star Party report

An estimated 250 star partiers invaded beautiful Woolly Hollow State Park Saturday evening for the park’s Spring Star Party.  As the sun set a deep blue sky revealed a thin crescent moon, with brilliant Jupiter and Venus nearby in the western sky and Mars further to the east.  Numerous Cub Scouts in attendance working on their Astronomy Belt Loops were thrilled at their first telescopic views of the moon and the early evening planets.   As total darkness fell the “dark” side of the moon was visible thanks to a beautiful display of earth shine.  Other “stars” of the show included the Orion nebula, Cor Caroli, Mizar and Alocor, M-95 and its new Supernova, and many other deep sky objects.  Near the end of the star party, Saturn rose above the tree line across Lake Bennett providing many their first views of Saturn, its rings and Titan.
We actually had celebrities in the “house”!   One guest of the star party was opera singer, composer and playwright Bonnie Montgomery. Another gentleman became an instant astronomy celebrity when he reported his middle name is Quasar and that he actually goes by that name.  He said he parents were inspired by Carl Sagan’s “Cosmos” in naming him and that his siblings also have astronomically themed names which includes Andromeda, Pollux, and Starbuck. We also welcomed newly minted Park Interpreter Mandy Martin who will no doubt become a “star” in her own right on the Woolly Hollow State Park staff.  Old friend and Park Superintendent Steve Wilson was also in attendance.
Members of the CAAS family in attendance were: Pat & Sandy Morris, Bill & Kay Sanders, Greg & Jane Hurley, Darrell Heath and Nathan James, Allen Lee, Jim Fisher, Rep. Stephen Meeks, Carl Freyaldenhoven, and Mike Baker (who traveled once again from his home in Warrenton, MO to attend a CAAS star party!).
CAAS will return to Woolly Hollow State Park for its Summer Star Party on the evening of July 28, 2102.     http://www.arkansasstateparks.com/woollyhollow/events/park-events-details.aspx?id=71979
The next CAAS public event is National Astronomy Day at Pinnacle Mountain State Park, April 28, 2012, 2 – 10 p.m.   http://www.arkansasstateparks.com/events/national-astronomy-day-72268/
Respectfully submitted,
Jim Fisher
Immediate Past President (acting as Secretary)