A party with the stars


The local Santa Clarita Group Astronomy Club held its first All-Star Party in over a year at Vasquez Rocks on Saturday.

The club, which suspended quarterly holidays due to the pandemic, returned on Saturday with a workshop to help new telescope owners use their equipment.

Club organizers also brought their own telescopes for safe viewing of sunspots and solar flares until a little after 8 p.m., when they switched to night-time viewing to see Sagittarius and Scorpio.

Jenna Wright, 10, left, and sister Hailey, 9, look through their father’s 8-inch reflector telescope as he prepares for the nightly public party at the Vasquez Rocks Natural Area in Agua Dulce on Saturday 071021. Dan Watson / The Signal

“During the summer there are a number of pretty interesting constellations and stars,” said John Cogan, editor of the club’s newsletter, pointing south.

Cogan said club leaders like Dave Flynn give a glimpse of the sky to members and others attending the All-Star Party for the first time.

Local Boy Scouts, youth and schools, who invited the group to their campuses, took advantage of the educational opportunity at Vasquez Rocks and other locations across the state.

Flynn said at least 10,000 people would look through the club’s telescopes in a typical year.

Veteran astronomer Glenn Basore describes his home-built Dobsonian refecting telescope with 12.5-inch lenses, which he set up for the first event of the local Santa Clarita Valley Group Astronomy Club, public night party at Vasquez Rocks Natur

Valencia resident Jeff Wright was ahead of the celebrity party with his two young daughters.

“We just got a telescope a few weeks ago, so we thought it would be a great opportunity to talk to some of these experts,” he said.

Wright said the event was a free opportunity to explore the natural world.

Jim Moldenhauer, a member of the local Santa Clarita Valley Group Astronomy Club, programs his computerized GoTo tracking tripod as he prepares for the public night party of the stars in the Vasquez Rocks Natural Area in Agua Dulce on Saturday 07102

Families like Wright’s are exactly what Glenn Dasore, who helped revive the club alongside Flynn around 12 years ago, hopes to see at these events.

“Our goal is to hopefully reach out to some young people to get interested in astronomy,” Dasore said, noting that the club was founded by two women in 1984. “They were reluctant to come out. themselves, so they said, “We should start a club. ‘”

Christine Coleman, who bought her first telescope in 1999, discovered the club three years ago. She was excited to learn more about using her new telescope on Saturday.

Veteran astronomer Glenn Basore, left, greets newbie Jeff Wright as he sets up his 8-inch reflecting telescope for the nighttime public party held at the Vasquez Rocks Natural Area in Agua Dulce on Saturday 071021. Dan Watson / The Signal

“I wanted to be able to learn about the sky,” the Valencia resident said, noting that she was impressed with Flynn’s knowledge of space.

Now she is able to designate different stars, planets and constellations.

“It makes them feel good and gets them excited,” she said of a time when another camper was checking her knowledge using a phone app to interpret the night sky.

Coleman said her telescope became a topic of conversation in her neighborhood when she gazed at the sky from her driveway.

“People are interested in knowing more – more than I thought,” she said.

To learn more about the local Santa Clarita Group Astronomy Club, visit lgscv.org.


About Johnnie Gross

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