Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park announces star gazing parties

virginiaCedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park invites visitor s to view and learn about the nighttime sky through three Star Gazing Parties scheduled throughout 2016.

These special National Park Service events, held in partnership with the Shenandoah Astronomical Society (SAS) and the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation, are scheduled for Saturday, April 2, Saturday, August 13 and Saturday, October 1  (rain date: October 29).  As part of the National Park Service’s Centennial celebration this year, these programs encourage visitors to explore Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park in a variety of ways and to discover the night sky in a quiet and peaceful setting.

All three programs will be held at the Thoburn Redoubt property, located on Bowman’s Mill Road, in Warren County.  This tract has been preserved by the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation and marks the location where the Battle of Cedar Creek began on October 19, 1864.  The site will be marked by directional signage for each event.

The Star Party will begin at 7:00 p.m. and are free of charge.  Each program will include a short introduction by a park ranger, followed by an astronomical related program given by a member of the SAS.  Visitors are welcomed to bring their own telescopes, or use the ones that will be provided by the Shenandoah Astronomical Society.

The events on April 2 and October 2 will look at a variety of celestial features.  The Star Party on August 13 is scheduled to coincide with the Perseid Meteor Shower, which results from debris stream associated with the comet Swift-Tuttle.

Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park offers a wide variety of ranger-conducted programs, which tell the park’s many stories related to the rich cultural history of the Shenandoah Valley and the American Civil War.  These programs are offered regularly. Check the park website (www.nps.gov/cebe) or call (540) 869-3051 for a current schedule.

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