Imagine looking up into the nighttime sky and seeing a hunter, a bull, a bear, and a queen. Well, with a little imagination, and the help of the Winnebago County Conservation Board, you can do just that! That’s because the Winnebago County Conservation Board has rescheduled their annual Winter Stargazing program for Tuesday evening, February 28th. (The program was originally scheduled for January, but cloudy skies forced its cancellation.) The program will still be held at the entrance to Thorpe Park, beginning at 7:00 PM. Thorpe Park is located five miles west of Forest City on 345th/”I” Street.
During the program, Winnebago County Naturalist Lisa Ralls will give an informal tour of the winter nighttime sky, lasting about 45-60 minutes. She will point out some of the brighter stars and constellations that are visible this time of year, and tell interesting tidbits of information about them. Among the winter constellations that will be visible are Orion the Hunter, Taurus the Bull, Auriga the Charioteer, the Gemini Twins, and Leo the Lion. People will also be able to see other constellations that are visible all year, including the Big and Little Dippers (Bears), Cassiopeia the Queen, and Hydra the Sea Serpent. In addition, Venus and Mars will also make an appearance!
After the program, hot chocolate and cookies will be served at the park office and star charts will be handed out for people to take home with them. Everyone is asked to bring along a pair of binoculars, if possible, although some will be available the night of the program. In case of clouds or inclement weather, the program will have to be canceled and that notice will run on KIOW Radio (FM 107.3), as well as on the WCCB web site, Facebook page, and Twitter feed. For more information about the WCCB’s rescheduled Winter Stargazing program, people can contact Lisa Ralls at either 641-565-3390 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.