October was the Hill Country Alliance’s first annual Night Sky Month celebration and was so successful I know it will become a tradition. Some of the highlights:
Night Sky Month Proclamations – Twenty five hill country jurisdictions, including counties (Comal county too), cities, and villages proclaimed October to be their Night Sky Month. What a show of support!
Star Parties – Six star parties were held, 4 virtual and 2 in person. Wimberly hosted the live “Blue Hole Star Party” which was unfortunately clouded out but included entertaining presentations. I attended the McKinney Falls State Park virtual star party and learned about how excess lighting affects nocturnal animals. Clouds did mess with the star party for a while but it cleared, and we were treated to nice views of the Moon, and Jupiter with its moons. The SLOOH (Science Light pollution Oneness Origin stories Hubris) organization hosted a virtual star party with its remotely operated telescopes in the Canary Islands and Chile. I missed this one but know it was spectacular. With the Chile scopes they got to see stuff we do not normally have access to in the northern hemisphere, like the Tarantula Nebula! During Blanco Market Day the Blanco County friends of the Night Sky had a “Sunspot Tent” telescope set up for people to stop by and see our own star, the Sun.
Measure Your Sky’s Brightness – The organization Globe at Night offered instructions for individuals to measure their local sky brightness, or darkness. Go to www.globeatnight.org for instructions. Find out how good or bad your local night sky conditions are. Even report your findings with Globe at Night.
Howl at the Moon! – The Wimberly Valley Dark Sky Committee in conjunction with the City of Wimberly hosted a “Hill Country Howl” for the full Harvest Moon on October 1st. At 8:30pm people went outside their homes and howled in support of dark night skies. The Kendal County Night Sky group partnered with Dodging Duck Brewing, Tusculum Brewing, and Cibolo Creek Brewing had a “Howl at the Moon” event in Borene, at Cibolo Creek Brewing on Main Street. Of course, they served Night Sky brew just for this event.
Educational Meetings – Several informative virtual meetings were held, as well as a live meeting at the Riverside Nature Center in Kerrville. Some meetings provided timely tips for mitigating excess light in your world. Other meetings focused on the negative affects excess light has on nocturnal animal lives, and even on Sun loving plants.
Costume and Pumpkin Carving Contest – The Comal County Friends of the Night Sky ran a contest for best night sky themed Halloween costume and/or carved pumpkin.
October was a Dark Sky event filled month! Let’s do it again in ’21.
What’s in the Sky?
November 17; 1am until dawn; begin northeast then end south: The Leonid meteor shower peaks.
November 18 & 19; 45 minutes after sunset; south-southwest: A waxing crescent Moon meets Jupiter and Saturn