Star Party at Nipper

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Star party at Nipper Wildlife Sanctuary. Photo by Chris Young.

What’s almost as much fun as seeing Saturn through a telescope? Listening to someone else who’s obviously seeing it for the first time. It never fails to bring a gasp or a cry of joy, as if we thought the astronomers had been yanking our chains the whole time.

Dark skies in July brought Boy Scouts and the Friends together for a Star Party at Nipper Wildlife Sanctuary in Loami. Friends volunteers Nick Klobuchar and Chris Young set their telescopes to view Jupiter and her moons and Saturn. Chris, Chris’ son, Phillip, and Nick were our guides to a mysterious part of our world, sharing with us their knowledge of the night skies, planets, constellations, and how the telescopes worked.

As people started to arrive and dusk fell, Nick showed us that we didn’t always need a telescope, and pointed out Mercury while Phillip named different stars that were peeking out. Then when it got dark, the vast field of stars resolved into sharp focus in the ‘scopes as we gazed at our fellow planets.