Deb Bonser, of the Ames Area Amateur Astronomers, is coordinating the annual event which draws in space-watching enthusiasts from all over the Midwest.
“On Friday night, we have a public night that is free to everybody who wants to come out,” Bonser says. “They get a chance to look through different kinds of telescopes and see different objects up in the sky and learn a lot about what’s up in the sky.” The Star Party is being held at the Whiterock Conservancy, southeast of Coon Rapids, and she says there’s an obvious reason.
“It’s one of the darkest spots in Iowa,” Bonser says. “We’re not bothered by street lights, city lights that are lighting up the sky and we can see things much more clearly.” If the skies remain cloud-free, there will be a chance to see numerous nebulas and stars millions of light years away, as well as some of the planets in our cosmic back yard.
“I am going to be putting a camera on a tripod. I do Milky Way photography and I’m going to see if I can get a galaxy in one of my photos and see what I can get,” Bonser says. “It depends on the weather.” The Star Party runs nightly for the serious astronomers, tonight through Monday night, while Friday’s open public viewing begins at 7:30 P.M. and runs into the wee hours.