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story.lead_photo.caption Photo by Susan Holland Van Masterson, events coordinator for NWA Space in Fayetteville, was on hand at the Gravette Public Library's star party Friday, Nov. 17, to explain the workings of the telescopes his group provided. Here he prepares to show Al Blair, Maria Pinto and her children Dina Teed and Paul Teed (partially hidden) how to use the finder scope he has set up. Dina holds one of the evening star maps provided to star party guests.

— Gravette Public Library hosted a "Star Party" Friday, Nov. 17, on Main Street in Gravette. Telescopes were set up on the north side of Main, just across the street from the library, and guests were able to use them to view the night sky. The Sugar Creek Astronomical Society and NWA Space were cosponsors of the event.

Katherine Auld, president of the astronomical society; her husband, Gareth Livergood; Van Masterson, events coordinator for NWA Space; and Clint Branham and Kent Marts, members of both Sugar Creek Astronomical Society and NWA Space; brought telescopes and set them up on the north side of Main Street, just across the street from the library. They were on hand to explain the workings of the telescopes and help visitors use them.

One of the telescopes they brought was a finder scope for the large telescope brought down from Swarthmore College, near Philadelphia, in July. This massive telescope, 36-feet-long and with a 24-inch-diameter lens, was built in 1911 by the John Brashear Company. It is the sixth largest refracting telescope in the United States. It arrived in Northwest Arkansas July 29, 2017, and is now housed in Bentonville while awaiting a permanent home.

Another telescope displayed was a 127-millimeter telescope on loan from Explore Scientific. One family who attended the star party brought its own individual telescope to set up.

Library supervisor Karen Benson said the library staff had originally planned to have a "Moon over Main Street" event but, when it was determined the moon would be in a waning crescent phase and not visible on Friday, they changed the name of their event to a "Star Party." Free evening sky maps were distributed, showing the entire night sky from horizon to horizon, and the relative positions of the moon, the planets and various constellations on selected dates throughout the month.

Library staff is working with members of the Sugar Creek Astronomical Society to schedule one or more star parties in 2018.

General News on 11/29/2017

Print Headline: Gravette library hosts "Star Party"

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