NASA Photo, Jupiter

Red Rock State Park hosted a star party which was sponsored by Astronomers of Verde Valley (AVV) and Keep Sedona Beautiful Dark Sky Committee.

The star party began with a presentation by J.D. Maddy, followed by a laser tour of the night sky by Karen Maddy. Then, the astronomers had multiple telescopes available for dark sky viewing. The gas giant planets of Jupiter and Saturn played hide and seek throughout the night; the viewers were impressed with open clusters Owl Cluster and Double Cluster, as well as the pretty Globular Clusters M22 and M13. The Andromeda Galaxy M31 and M110 both could be seen in the eyepiece simultaneously. The observers were in awe that they could see M31 which is located 2.5 million light-years away. About 87 people participated in the evening event.

The Keep Sedona Beautiful Dark Sky Committee distributed dark sky brochures and discussed the importance of reducing light pollution and having dark sky compliant lighting. Light refreshments were served.