Lower Keys’ Winter Star Party to Provide Unparalleled Viewing for Astronomers
Astronomers and astrophotographers from around the globe are to gather in the Lower Florida Keys Monday through Sunday, Feb. 5-11, to enjoy 180-degree viewing of the Southern Cross and other constellations, comets and stars during the Winter Star Party.
Now in its 40th year, the gathering typically attracts several hundred professional and amateur astronomers to the Lower Keys each February — usually during the new moon. The region’s southern location, “steady” skies and relative absence of large-scale artificial lighting at night provide viewing conditions that are virtually unparalleled in the continental United States.
As in past years, the Winter Star Party is to be held at two Scout camps, Camp Wesumkee and Camp Sawyer, around mile marker 34 U.S. Highway 1 on Scout Key. Tent camping and air-conditioned “glamping” accommodations are available for registered attendees, as is parking for recreational vehicles. Other accommodations options include booking stays at Lower Keys lodging properties.
In addition to nightly stargazing opportunities, Winter Star Party participants can attend lectures and discussions by nine acclaimed astronomers and guest speakers. Lecture topics include celestial navigation, astrophotography, “Culture of Astronomy” and “Zen and the Art of Astronomical Pursuits.”
Attendees during the week also can shop for astronomy equipment from on-site vendors including Telescope Engineering Company, participate in the popular annual beach walk and laser tour, learn what’s new in the field and share observing ideas and astro-imaging techniques with fellow aficionados.
Established in 1984, the Winter Star Party is hosted by Miami’s Southern Cross Astronomical Society. The SCAS was founded in 1922 and is one of the oldest amateur astronomical societies in the Western Hemisphere.
The Winter Star Party is open to the public as well as to SCAS members, but advance registration is required for admission to the event site.
Event information and registration: scas.org