Jimmy Westlake: Stagecoach Star Party this Friday

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— You are invited to join other astronomy enthusiasts from around the community for the “Stagecoach Star Party” Friday at the Morrison Cove Boat Ramp on the Southshore side of Stagecoach State Park beginning at 9:30 p.m., weather permitting. It’s a short and beautiful 30-minute drive from Steamboat Springs to Stagecoach State Park, off of Routt County Road 14.

Jimmy Westlake

Jimmy Westlake's Celestial News column appears Tuesdays in the Steamboat Today.

Find more columns by Westlake here.

Do you own a homemade or commercial telescope and enjoy sharing celestial sights with other folks? Then come on down to the shores of beautiful Stagecoach Reservoir Friday night and set up your ‘scope for some shared public viewing.

Do you have a telescope that is gathering dust and cobwebs in the garage, closet or attic because you aren’t sure how to use it or maybe it is missing a piece? Then bring it on down to the Star Party, and I or someone else will help you get it operational.

Do you not own a telescope but would love the opportunity to see the rings of Saturn for yourself? Then the Stagecoach Star Party is for you, too.

When the sun goes down Friday night and the stars pop out, we hope to have lots of different kinds and sizes of telescopes aimed skyward for all to peep through. The planets Jupiter, Mars and Saturn will be strung out across the sky, perfectly placed for viewing. I will be your host and will provide a guided tour of the summer sky.

The Stagecoach Star Party is free and open to all ages, although a valid annual State Parks pass or daily pass is required on all vehicles. The $7 daily passes will be available on site.

Besides your favorite telescope, I would recommend bringing along a camp chair or two, some insect repellant, a small red-filtered flashlight and a jacket for the cool mountain air after sundown.

To get to the Morrison Cove Boat Ramp parking area from Steamboat Springs, take Colorado Highway 131 south to County Road 14, turn left and continue past the main Stagecoach State Park entrance. After passing mile marker 4, turn left onto C.R. 16 toward Lynx Pass. Follow 16 around the lake (Note: 16 makes a left turn in front of the Eagle’s Nest town homes) until it intersects C.R. 18A and turn left. This road will take you down to the Morrison Cove Boat Ramp parking area and the Stagecoach Star Party.

I hope to see you there!

Professor Jimmy Westlake teaches astronomy and physics at Colorado Mountain College's Alpine Campus. His "Celestial News" column appears weekly in the Steamboat Today newspaper and his "Cosmic Moment" radio spots can be heard on local radio station KFMU. Check out Jimmy’s astrophotography website at www.jwestlake.com.

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