Astronomy event planned at High Bridge

Published 10:23 am Thursday, March 10, 2016

High Bridge Trail State Park will present an astronomy program by volunteers Bruce and Karen Bellenir on High Bridge Saturday starting at 7 p.m.

Eighteenth-century French Astronomer Charles Messier (pronounced mess-ee-ay) was a comet hunter who scanned the skies to find objects that changed their positions against the background stars. To avoid stumbling upon and investigating the same objects numerous times, he made a list of previous finds. Today his name is associated with a catalog of 110 such items known as “Messier Objects,” or “M Objects.”

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The High Bridge event will show visitors famous M Objects, including the Andromeda Galaxy (M31), the Pleiades Cluster (M45), and the Orion Nebula (M42). Tripod-mounted binoculars and a telescope will help participants get a closer look.

High Bridge Trail State Park’s astronomy events are held at the center of High Bridge, where the view of the sky is unobstructed. The distance is 1.25 miles from the River Road parking area, or 0.5 miles from the newly opened Camp Paradise parking area, which can be accessed off Aspen Hill Road. Use GPS address of 1681 Aspen Hill Road, Rice. Visitors near the bridge should turn off any flashlights without a red filter.

The event is free, but state park parking fees apply.