Prairie Ridge Statewide Star Party

Date:  April 8, 2022
Time:  8:30 – 11:00 pm

Location: Prairie Ridge Ecostation, Raleigh NC

Steven Blake
Doug Lively
Chris Wittum
Brian Reasor
Tony Verdone
Frank Westmorland

Event Attendees: 176

We setup near the research building closest to the parking lot, with good views > 15 deg elevation in all directions. Viewing conditions were party cloudy until ~9:15PM, at which point a cloud layer from the southwest moved in. Only the Moon was visible past that point until we packed up at 10:00PM due to the risk of incoming rain. Temps were in the mid-50s/low-60s throughout the evening. There was intermittent wind of 5-10 mph which negatively impacted seeing. Orion was still high enough in the sky to be very well positioned. Frank setup panels with several of his astrophotographs along with mounted binoculars. We viewed the Moon, nebula M42 (Orion), open clusters M38, M41, M44 (Beehive), M45 (Pleiedes) M47, NGC 869, NGC 884,  globular cluster M3, and Sigma Orionis. No planets were visible this evening. Once the event started traffic at the telescopes/binoculars was steady. Most attendees were families with children. A few prospective club members asked questions about RAC and telescopes. A table with NASA swag that we provided was setup by the host, but we did not setup a RAC information table (the wind made an unattended table impractical).

A potential club member (name forgotten!) setup his own refractor that he is learning to use.

Notes for Next Time:
Prairie Ridge is a regular public outreach site and logistics are fairly well established. Christine Goforth coordinated the event for Prairie Ridge Ecostation and expressed interest in hosting another outreach event later this year.