100 Hours of Astronomy — A public event at the New River Kiwanis Community Park

On April 4th, 2009, 7-9 pm, DFAC hosted a public astronomy event at the New River Kiwanis Community Park (NRKCP). 2009 is the 400th anniversary of Galileo's invention of the telescope. Professional and amateur groups worldwide have declared 2009 the International Year of Astronomy, and hosted public events in a 100 hour marathon from April 2-5. The date was selected to provide a good view of the Moon, one of the many objects observed by Galileo, and a key part of his argument for the Heliocentric Theory of Copernicus. To read more about this global celebration, click here.

The sky was clear and dark, but it was a bit windy and cool, so turnout was less than expected. We were also "competing" with the Anthem Days celebration, which, through an inopportune coincidence, was held this same weekend. Still, those who attended were greeted with fine views of the Moon, Saturn, and other astronomically significant objects.

Our welcome table provided guests with DFAC info brochures, and instructions for participating in the evening's event.

We had a total of eight telescopes deployed, each targeting a specific object. Lines were short and all our guests had great views.

One young observer was thrilled by her first look at the Moon, magnified 100 times larger than what the eye can see.

We expect this public event to become a yearly DFAC offering. One of the best ways to fight light pollution is to show people what they're missing under brighter skies. And the NRKCP is one of the darkest sites in the New River area. DFAC would like to thank the New River Kiwanis for the use of their park. It's a great dark sky location. Also thanks to the Larking Memorial Arena equestrians for accommodating us with an early "lights out" for their riders that evening.