The 23rd annual North Texas Skywatch Star Party arrives on Saturday, Nov. 3, at Lake Mineral Wells State Park. Star Party activities begin at 6:30 p.m. and stargazers and astronomy fans are invited to continue to search the skies throughout the evening.
Hosted by Lake Mineral Wells State Park and Tarleton State University, the annual event has become a popular activity for families from the Metroplex seeking a good viewing spot away from city light pollution. Activities are designed to entertain everyone from veteran stargazers to novices and the just plain curious.
Weather permitting, the star watching is expected to get under way at 7:15 p.m. Skywatch party visitors are encouraged to bring their own telescopes if they have them and share their sightings with those who don’t.
Admission to the Skywatch Star Party is the price of admission to the Lake Mineral Wells State Park. Campers who bring their telescopes man stay overnight. Contact the Lake Mineral Wells State Park for more information and reservations by calling 940-328-1171. The park is located off Highway 180, 50 miles west of Fort Worth.
“We get two types of visitors for this event each year,” said Dr. Michael Hibbs, director of the Program for Astronomy Education & Research at Tarleton. “There are those who want to know more about ‘backyard astronomy’ and are looking for a great place to set up their telescopes; and there are those who never get to see the night’s sky without the interference of artificial lighting.”
The Skywatch Star Party was created by Hibbs and Lake Mineral Wells State Park Director David Owens. They have worked together on the project since hosting the first one in Johnson County at the Cleburne State Park. This year’s attendance is expected to be 200 or more depending on the weather. “We have had as many as several hundred take part in this event or only a handful,” said Hibbs. “It all depends on the weather.”