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Cosmic Wonders in the Tri-Valley

Marvel at the moon, far-off galaxies, and the Orion Nebula with the Tri-Valley Stargazers.


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Photo by Roland Albers

“There are two things I encourage everyone to have on their bucket list,” says Roland Albers, president of the Tri-Valley Stargazers astronomy club, “and that’s to look through a telescope at the moon’s craters and Saturn and its rings. If you’ve never seen those, you’re missing out on an incredible treat.”

One of these awe-inspiring sights—the moon in all its cratered glory—will be on telescopic view on April 13 at the Stargazers’ first public star party of the year. Thanks to the club’s partnership with the East Bay Regional Park District, anyone intrigued by the cosmos can go to the Arroyo Road Staging Area at Del Valle Regional Park, just south of Livermore, to peer through the Stargazers’ telescopes and marvel at the wonders of the nighttime sky, such as the Orion Nebula and distant galaxies.

“Del Valle is graced with some of the darkest skies you can find [in] the Bay Area,” Albers points out. That’s because there’s practically no light pollution for almost 100 miles to the south, making Del Valle an ideal site for stargazing.

While Saturn won’t be visible this month—planets are best viewed in the summer, Albers notes—the Tri-Valley Stargazers plan to host more parties in 2019, including a summer event where they set up telescopes in front of the Bankhead Theater in Livermore and invite passersby to gaze through them.

The club—which boasts more than 150 members, ranging from beginners to professional phy­s­i­cists—also holds monthly meetings, often featuring lectures from prominent figures in the astro­nomy community. Previous speakers have included experts from NASA, the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, and foreign space-​​exploration agencies. These meetings are open to the public.

Of course, the Stargazers set up telescopes outside their meetings too. Because, as Albers puts it, “You can’t believe how much more is revealed through a telescope than by looking up at the night sky with just your eyes.”

 

The Tri-Valley Stargazers’ star party takes place April 13 from 8:30 to 10 p.m. (weather permitting). trivalleystargazers.org.

 

Observation Stations

Can’t make it to the April 13 star party? Put these dates on your calendar for future Stargazers events.

 

Date: August 3
Time: 8:30 p.m.
Location: Del Valle Regional Park, Arroyo Road Staging Area

 

Date: October 3
Time: 7 p.m. (presentation), 7:30 p.m. (stargazing) 
Location: Livermore Public Library, Civic Center branch

 

Date: October 5
Time: 7 p.m.
Location: Del Valle Regional Park, Arroyo Road Staging Area

 

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