7th Stargazing Party Wows Desert Museum Goers

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OCOTILLO – The dark yet starry skies over Ocotillo dazzled the attendees of the Imperial Valley Desert Museum on Saturday night at the 7th Stargazing Party.

The stargazing event attracts roughly 150 people each time it is held and has a different show in the sky every time due to the changing positions of the stars with the seasons.

Before the stargazing started, there was a short presentation called “Flying Blue Marble” about the movements of the Earth through space given by BoRrego Springs astronomer Dennis Mammana. A question and answer session followed that sparked interaction between Mammana and the audience about the information given in the presentation.

Prizes were raffled off after the presentation that included two large telescopes and a bag of star charts. All the sales from the raffle will go towards the funds for the museum.

Outside four telescopes, including a personal one from a museum visitor, were set up outside to look at the constellations, stars, and planets that are viewable in the valley skies at this time of the year.

The events are meant to help with funding, but more importantly to bring people out to the museum that otherwise would not know about it according to Steve Benton, the museum committee treasurer and amateur astronomer who organizes all the stargazing events.

For Marieann Henderson of Brawley, it was a chance to see the museum for the first time with her whole family.070

“I didn’t think it was going to be this nice,” said Henderson, “And the kids are learning and it’s not even in school!”

“It’s something different to do,” said Christian Cano from Calexico, who is a regular visitor with his girlfriend to the event, “There’s usually a different constellation every time we come here.”

“I think it’s really pretty when the sky is dark and I love to see the stars,” said Natalia Hernandez from Imperial, “I just hope it all goes well and that people will keep coming.”

The museum is hoping to hold another stargazing party in November.