This past weekend we got to attend our very first star party on Mount Potosi, which is an hour and a half southwest of Las Vegas. If you’ve never heard of a star party, you’re probably not nerdy enough. ;P A star party is where a group of amateur astronomers get together to observe the sky and nerd out over all the cool stuff they see. Our friend Joe / Mysteryguitarman has recently gotten into astronomy, so we got to tag along and learn a thing or two about stars. For example, a double star is not just two stars that are close together. They actually interact and orbit around each other.
We arrived around sunset and watched people set up their telescopes. There were 6 being set up by a few folks from the Las Vegas astronomy club. Everyone was super friendly and let us a peek into their telescopes.
We saw Jupiter (the brightest) and the Orion Nebula (the cluster).
Then some planes interfered with our long exposure.
You see so many stars without light pollution! This was later in the evening when it was much darker.
After hanging out with the stars, we went off to the side to do some light painting.
I need to work on my penmanship, but Jacob was killin it!
Tips for going to a Star Party (some specific to Mount Potosi Las Vegas):
- Bundle up! Wear thermals. Bring warm gloves, socks, and heat packs. We were out there from 6PM-10PM, and my fingers could barely operate a camera. It was cold!
- Don’t forget your tripod (this is the one we use) and remote shutter release. We forgot ours, so we ended up setting it on timer. It works okay, but limits you on how long the exposure can be (up to 30 seconds).
- You can attend or book your own star party! Contact Las Vegas Astronomical Society or your local astronomy club.
What’s your favorite stargazing spot?