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12:43 PM Sat, Nov. 17th

Alamo Lake star party is Saturday

Alamo Lake State Park will host its 5th annual "Night Under the Stars" astronomy program Saturday.

"Because Alamo Lake State Park is 30 miles from the nearest small town, the park's dark skies offer some of Arizona's best unaided views of celestial objects like the Andromeda Galaxy and the Triangulum Galaxy," Astronomers of the Verde Valley President JD Maddy said.

Arizona has the first state park system in the nation to have assets registered as StarParks in the Global StarPark Network, parks spokesperson Ellen Bilbrey said.

The lake is located near Wenden and Highway 60 southwest of Prescott.

Astronomy clubs and amateur astronomers from throughout the state will provide the telescopes to allow visitors to explore the night sky.

Schedule

• Afternoon program: Noon to 3 p.m. solar viewing, Mercury and Venus viewing, Night Sky Network Information Tent.

• Evening program: 5:15 p.m. Observational Astronomy slide presentation with Maddy.

• Night star viewing: 6-10 p.m. View the skies through telescopes. See Jupiter, Comet Garradd 2009/P1, Andromeda Galaxy, open clusters, globular clusters and planetary nebula.

• Astrophotography introduction workshop at 10 p.m. Learn astrophotography using Hyperstar, a digital SLR camera.

See photos and a video from last year's event online at AzStateParks.com/Parks/Alla. Directions to the lake also are on this site.

Please bring a red flashlight and comfort items such as folding chairs, warm clothes, bottled water and snacks. The park has camping, fishing and ramadas available. Primitive camping sites are offered to participating astronomy clubs and individuals who bring a telescope to the star party to share with visitors.

Campground reservations can now be made online for Alamo Lake State Park. The park entrance fee is $7 (for as many as four adults) per vehicle. Primitive and full hookup campsites are available at a fee of $13 to $25 per night.