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Lake Mineral Wells State Park to host Skywatch Star Party

Courtesy of Tarleton Media Relations

Courtesy of Tarleton Media Relations

Angel Jauregui, Contributor

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The 20th annual North Texas Skywatch Star Party will take place at Lake Mineral Wells Sate Park on Saturday Oct. 28. The watch party started 20 years ago by Dr. Mike Hibbs, Associate Professor in the Chemistry, Geosciences and Physics department, and Park Ranger David Owens.

According to Hibbs, the intent of the watch party “is to give the [residents] of North Texas a nearby meeting place and dark sky location to get together in a family friendly environment.”

The purpose of the party is to get local amateur astronomers and astronomy professors from Tarleton, Texas Christian University, Tarrant County College and Weatherford College.

Hibbs said, “It gives [us] an opportunity to bring telescopes and share views through [them], or share knowledge of astronomy, and gives a chance to learn and see for the first time.”

The Party has an educational purpose for adults and children. Owens will have a children’s area set up for kids to do hands-on astronomy projects. For adults Hibbs will show a video on American Indian sky lore and a slide presentation on basic astronomy, current astronomy topics and highlight things they can see with they can see with their naked eye or a pair of binoculars from their own backyards.

All who attend are encouraged to come early and enjoy the State Park as it is a “great chance to get out doors to picnic, hike, bird watch or camp.” Hibbs said.

Cost to attend is the normal state park admission fee: $7 for adults, children 12 and under are free.

Hibbs hopes all who attend have a greater appreciation for nature and the universe around them as it is “a [great] opportunity for people to learn a little astronomy and things visible to them in their own backyards.”

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Lake Mineral Wells State Park to host Skywatch Star Party