2011-10-06 / Front Page

Star gazers spend a week in dark skies at astronomy camp

A group of more than 100 people spent last week in a field just beyond the Wilkes County line near Raytown, attracted from all over the southeast for one reason: it’s very, very dark at night. If you plan to spend a week gazing at the moon and stars, that’s very important.

Members of the Atlanta Astronomy Club held their annual Peach State Star Gaze last week at the Deerlick Astronomy Village east of Raytown. Organizer Ken Poshedly said that amateur astronomers traveled from all over the country for the annual star party from Sunday, September 25, until Sunday, October 2.

“The Deerlick Astronomy Villabe has an 11-acre field that has room for RVs, campers, and tents,” he said. Astronomers set up their telescopes and other high-tech equipment to view stars, the moon, and planets, both to observe and to photograph the heavenly bodies they see.

Over the years, the village has grown to include some permanent housing for telescopes and astronomers. During the Peach State Star Gaze, the Atlanta Astronomy Club’s 24-inch telescope is set up on the field. During the day, the AAC had speakers, workshops, and vendors to occupy the amateur astronomers time while they wait for darkness.

The location of the Deerlick Astronomy Village was chosen by founder Chris Hetlage after searching the “dark sky” maps of light pollution in the U.S. “They wanted a location in Georgia that was reasonably close to Atlanta and the interstate, but was away from any city lights,” Poshedly said. “This location is in an area of the very darkest skies.”

The Atlanta Astronomy Club welcomes anyone interesting in astronomy, beginner or experienced, young or old, Poshedly said. More information can be found at the club’s web site www.AtlantaAstronomy.org.

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