SLAS Star Party Tonight at Wheeler Farm

The Salt Lake Astronomical Society (SLAS) is hosting a star party tonight (Friday September 20, 2103) at Wheeler Farm.  If you and/or your kids are interested in space or if you just want to try something new tonight then check out this free event.  I’ve taken my kids to many of these Star Parties both locally (usually they are held in Harmon’s parking lots) and at their observatory at Stansbury Park.  They are awesome!  SLAS members are enthusiastic, helpful and many of them have amazing telescopes which will be pointed at everything of interest in tonight’s sky.  In addition to stars, galaxies, the nearly full moon and a couple of planets they will show you how to locate and identify the planets, stars and constellations.  It is a great opportunity to see things that most of us can’t, through the free use of some amazing telescopes but more importantly the knowledge that these gracious amateur and professional astronomers will share.

Several years ago, I saw Saturn for the first time just after dark as it was approaching the western horizon at a SLAS star party just like the one tonight.  Although the viewing conditions in Harmon’s parking lot in Taylorsville were not ideal, there were enough to get me hooked.  Saturn, the beauty of our solar system (other than earth) had been right there night after night for weeks shining brightly in the western sky and I hadn’t even noticed.  I’ve since purchased a small telescope and I spend many nights during the summer with my kids looking up at the wonders of the universe (my 3 year old loves Jupiter and when it was up he would point it out to me every night).  I couldn’t point out Jupiter until I was 35 years old, I thought it was pretty cool that he could at 3.  It is my hope that he continues to be excited and amazed by the night sky and our universe in general.

I’ve since moved from the Salt Lake area so I am no longer a member of SLAS but I can tell you that not only are their Star Parties awesome.  I can remember people crowding the telescopes as they returned to the parking lot from shopping.  Regardless of how interested they were in astronomy in general, seeing Mare Tranquilitatas where Apollo 11 landed on the moon, a distant galaxy or Saturn’s rings for the first time gets everyone excited.  So, really if you are your kids are interested at all, and you live in the area, I promise you that this will be time well spent.  If you haven’t done anything like this before, then it very well could be a night you will remember forever.  I know that I will never forget the first time I saw Saturn.  It was amazing and truly changed my life, I’ve been hooked ever since.

If you still aren’t sold, SLAS will be giving away astronomy books and telescopes to a few lucky kids tonight.  I’m not sure the details of tonight’s givew away but they often do raffle type contests.  Children from 5-18 are eligible so in addition to a night enjoying the wonders of our universe your kids might get lucky.  Either way it will be a great time.  I only wish I could be there.

By the way, as a follow up to tonight’s even SLAS is also hosting a Sun Party tomorrow.  With the safely equipped telescopes you can see the sun as you have never seen it before.  Also a very cool event.  I hope you go, if so, let us at know what you though. but the monthly meetings are great as well including a wide variety of speakers from every aspect of astronomy.  They also do a quick tour of the night sky so the novice can go home and pick out constellations, planets and other phenomenon that are waiting right over head for you to discover.

including the nearly full moon, stars, galaxies and even a couple of planets that are currently visible.  In addition if you are interested in getting a telescope they are always excited to show you where to start.  You  can find directions and additional information at

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