Blank Park Zoo
Blank Park Zoo

Family Nature Club Stargazing

Posted on 04/27/2016 at 03:08 PM by Blog Author

Saturday, April 9th, our Family Nature Club met up with Polk County Conservation at Yellow Banks Park to take a closer look at the night sky. Using a couple of telescopes, we were able to peek at celestial bodies too far away for the naked eye to see.

Doug Rudd, vice-president of the Des Moines Astronomical Society, was happy to share his knowledge of the universe! He introduced us to wonders such as Pleiades, an open star cluster in the middle of the Taurus constellation. Doug informed us that a star cluster is a group of stars made out of the same dust particles. Since they are made from the same dust, they are usually formed around the same time. While Pleiades is one of the closest star clusters to Earth, it is still about 440 light years away.

For more information about astronomy and stargazing, please visit Here you can find fun facts and information about the stars and planets, plus check out a map of the night sky to help you identify celestial objects! In addition to the internet, you can visit the Ashton Observatory. Located 20 minutes northeast of Des Moines, the observatory is free to the public on Saturdays April – October (excluding July). Come by to take advantage of their two 16-inch diameter telescopes! Lectures by the Des Moines Astronomical Society begin at 8PM.

Our next Family Nature Club event will include nature play activities near Kids Kingdom.  On May 14th, we will be exploring some of the ways you can have fun with simple items commonly found in nature. To join us, please register by clicking here.


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