2017-11-09 / News

Explore the heavens under dark skies at next astronomy village open house

If you've never seen the Milky Way stretching across the heavens, Saturday, November 11, will be a grand opportunity. Deerlick Astronomy Village (DAV) will open its gates to neighbors for its annual fall open house. The public is invited to take advantage of this free, family fun event and see the south's premiere dark-sky community in the heart of Taliaferro County.

Following closely on the heels of the W-W Middle School daytime field trip to DAV, experienced astronomers will be prepared for families whose youngsters' scientific curiosity has been stimulated to witness the wonders of the night sky. Telescopic views of planets, nebulae, star clusters, and galaxies will all be shared and explained.

DAV was originally opened about 10 years ago by a group of astronomers from Atlanta who were searching for an area where they could escape the light pollution and the busy, bright city. Now, twice a year, amateur astronomers from the entire eastern seaboard gather to enjoy the mild weather and pristine dark skies as they pursue their passion.

“Our 11-acre observing field is routinely used by owners and field members year round from as far away as Michigan, Maryland, and Florida, as well as local residents and those from Atlanta and Augusta,” Jane Kuehn said. “On Saturday, the 11th of November, we'll welcome visitors from 5-11 p.m. to enjoy our pavilion, learn some basics of astronomy, and tour private observatories. As the shadows fall, volunteers will point out constellations during our free sky tour, then share views from various telescopes.”

Visitors are asked to arrive before dark so they can learn about the facility during daylight hours and gradually transition to darkness. Since white light (headlights, flashlights, etc.) hinders night vision, only red lights are permitted after dark. Nighttime temperatures routinely drop after sunset, so guests are encouraged to dress in layers and wear closed shoes. Shorts and sandals can become uncomfortable when the sun goes down and the dew settles.

DAV is located about 15 miles south of Washington in Raytown. To reach the village, take Lundberg Road (off Andrews Drive and Baltimore Road, at the blinking light) to the Raytown four-way-stop intersection. Go straight across to Double Wells Road and take the first right at Aaron Grier Road (0.3 miles). Continue on this dirt road for 1/2 mile, enter through the “Star Gate” and turn right onto Star's End (the road comes to a "T") and on to Grier's Field. For additional information go to www.deerlickgroup.com or call Kuehn at 706-816-3844.

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