Clear skies can’t lose: Where Kansans go to stargaze

June 19, 2016 - Supermoon

WICHITA – Where there are dim skies, you’ll find them.

Stargazers, from infrequent novices to astronomers with heavy-duty telescopes, use comfortable summer nights to demeanour adult during a sky. The uncover comforts a different cast, with constellations and planets like Jupiter and Saturn creation appearances.

And Kansas provides a series of places for stargazing to be a fun, family-friendly activity.

“I grew adult in farming Kansas so I’ve been examination stars given we was a kid,” pronounced Rick Henderson, boss of a Astronomical Society of Kansas City. “I’m only dependant to this, to a night sky.”

The Wichita Eagle reports that Kansas is not perfect. Lights from race centers like Wichita, Topeka and a Kansas City area can still get in a way.

“It’s removing harder and harder to find places that we can get divided from a city lights,” pronounced Fred Gassert, boss of a Wichita-based Kansas Astronomical Observers. “That’s substantially a biggest censure wherever we go.”

“It’s amazing. You get out in a center of a Flint Hills and still have light problems,” he added. “The ideal mark doesn’t exist, so we got to live with a mark we find.”

Here are some places Kansans meddlesome in astronomy like to go to stargaze:


Some astronomy clubs work observatories as non-profit organizations.

Farpoint Observatory, about 30 miles southwest of Topeka, is owned by a Northeast Kansas Amateur Astronomers’ League. It has open houses during 9 p.m. Jul 9 and Jul 23.

“For open houses, we set adult telescopes and uncover people with laser pointers what a constellations are,” pronounced Janelle Burgardt, a preparation coordinator for a Topeka-based group. “We also do open houses for groups, classrooms and whatnot on request.

“We got a genuine good dim sky out there,” she added.

The Astronomical Society of Kansas City operates dual observatories.

The Warkoczewski Observatory, also famous as a “Warko,” is on a University of Missouri-Kansas City campus. It’s open to a open on Friday nights between May and October.

There’s also a Powell Observatory, nearby Louisburg. Henderson says it’s a “much, most darker location” than a Warko.

It’s open on Saturday nights between May and Oct and is run by volunteers.

“We only do it since we’re nuts, we guess,” Henderson said, laughing. “We do ask for donations since that’s what supports a observatory.”

People are acquire to move their possess telescopes and binoculars even yet a look-out already has equipment.

“We indeed finish adult display a lot of people how to use their equipment,” Henderson said. “They buy these toys and go ‘What do we do with it now?’”

State parks, inlet and scholarship centers

Knowing a skill owners out in a nation is one approach to find a place to demeanour during a night sky.

“It might only be a margin out in a center of nothing,” Gassert said.

But scholarship centers, inlet centers and state parks can also be good places to stargaze outward an observatory.

“I would go to any of a Kansas state parks,” Gassert said. “Anywhere we can go that’s got dim skies as distant as public-access places.”

Burgardt pronounced her organisation typically calls forward to check a times stargazers can be out there.

“Part of a problem is a lot of them tighten before it even gets dim now,” Burgardt said. “You roughly have to stay out a lot of them.”

Banner Creek Science Center, nearby Holton, hosts look-out open houses via a summer, including one on Jul 2. They routinely start during 9 p.m.

Groups also horde “star parties” that engage camping out low into a night. There’s one during 8 p.m. Jul 30 during Fall River State Park.

Hillsdale Lake State Park south of Olathe and Chaplin Nature Center in Arkansas City have hosted events in a past, though have nothing scheduled for this summer so far.

Gassert recommends going to El Dorado State Park and Butler State Lake.

The stargazing plcae might also count on what planets, stars and constellations you’re looking for.

“Sky heat is unequivocally tough to get divided from so we only learn to live with it,” Gassert said. “If you’re during (Lake) Afton, a sky heat is to a east. If you’re during El Dorado, afterwards a sky heat is going to be to a southwest. So it’s all in what partial of a sky we wish to observe in as to where we finish adult going.”

Star parties for a ‘hard-core’

Some star-watchers organisation to star parties out of state. Some events are giveaway though others have registration fees.

“Those tend to be populated by or visited by a critical astronomers, people with telescopes that don’t mind pushing 300 miles to get to a dim sky,” Henderson said.

The Kansas City organisation hosts a Heart of America Star Party between Sept. 29 and Oct. 2 during a dark-sky site nearby Butler, Mo.

Some Kansans also go to a Okie-Tex Star Party, one of a country’s tip star parties that’s hold around a same time in western Oklahoma. It’s nearby a Cimarron National Grassland, though it’s so distant west it’s closer to New Mexico.

“That’s a unequivocally popular, week-long event,” Gassert said. “The Okie-Tex Star Party will have 450 to 500 people from all over a country. Because people demeanour for that event to have dim skies.”

Maybe Lake Afton again

Wichitans used to have an look-out tighten to home.

The Lake Afton Observatory south of Goddard non-stop in 1981. It sealed late final summer since of financial struggles.

“It’s only a shame,” Henderson said. “It’s so tighten to Wichita that we would consider it would be a natural.”

Gassert’s group, a Kansas Astronomical Observers, wants to revive and run a facility.

“We’re anticipating that during some indicate Lake Afton is going to free and we’ll go out there,” Gassert said. “There is a place to observe now – it only doesn’t have facilities.”

Gassert pronounced a organisation has control of a nonprofit that would run a Lake Afton Observatory. It is perplexing to negotiate a franchise with Sedgwick County for a facility.

“It’ll occur whenever it happens,” he said. “I’m still anticipating for someday this summer. But we don’t wish to even put my hopes on that.”

‘The proportions of it’

Wherever we go, astronomy enthusiasts contend summer is an sparkling time to investigate a subject.

“There’s only a lot things going on adult in a heavens,” Henderson said. “It’s fun to get a telescope out and demeanour during that stuff.”

In Aug 2017, a sum obscure will be manifest opposite a swath of a U.S., including northeast Kansas.

And 3 planets over from a object – Mars, Jupiter and Saturn – are prominently manifest this summer.

“The some-more we get into it, a some-more engaging it becomes since there are so many branches in astronomy,” Burgardt said. “I like a watching though we also like some of a stories behind it, a mythology.”

“It’s only a proportions of it out there. And we can observe something one night and it changes a subsequent and we only never know what you’re going to find.”

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