CALHOUN'S NIGHT SKY "WILL TAKE YOUR BREATH AWAY" - Stargazers Gather For Star Party This Weekend At Calhoun Park, Public Welcome To Some Events


The Andromeda Galaxy M31 as photographed from
Calhoun County Park (Copyright 2006 Dave Miller)

The Rosette Nebula, photographed in the dark skies
of Calhoun County (Copyright 2006 Dave Miller)

By Bob Weaver

About thirty stargazers are coming to Calhoun Park on Sept 30-Oct. 2, 2016 for a "Dark Skies Stargazing Party."

The public is welcome to attend several of the events:

Program Schedule for 2016 Calhoun StarGaze

Stargazers have been coming to Calhoun Park since the 1990s because of the absence of artificial light, said gazer Phil Creed of Canton, Ohio.

Creed contacted the Herald a few years ago, wanting to know if Hur's Husk Ridge was a dark place that might be suitable for astronomical buffs. He came and toured the Hur-Joker area, but then discovered the Calhoun County Park.

"It took my breath away, as a site for stargazing," he said. Since then, stargazers have been coming to the park a few times a year.

"What a place! Absent of artificial light that makes stargazing difficult," he said. "Slowly but surely stargazers are starting to discover the Calhoun Park."

"It got even better when I came across Roger Jarvis. When I told him I was looking for a stargazing spot, he told me that his brother (also living in northeast Ohio), who has a telescope, had come to the park and it was the darkest spot he knew of"

While Spruce Knob is only marginally better, "Calhoun has quickly become our go-to spot for observing. We've met some of the friendliest people on God's Great Earth. That counts a lot in my book," commented Creed.

Stargazing touches something deep, even primordial in people's souls, inspires awe and fires natural curiosity.

The Pleiades M45 photographed from Calhoun
County Park (Copyright Dave Miller 2006)

The Orion Nebula M31 photographed from
Calhoun County Park (Copyright Dave Miller 2006)

Dark place stargazing is a new type of eco-tourism could thrive in economically depressed rural areas which has led to the on-going Dark Skies development at the Calhoun Park,

Older Calhouners, during a slower time, enjoyed the night sky. Now, that enjoyment is being re-invented.

Andromeda M41 photographed from Calhoun
County Park (Copyright Dave Miller 2006)

See ...

... and

Most everybody's asleep in Grover's Corners. There are a few lights on: Shorty Hawkins, down at the depot, has just watched the Albany train go by. And at the livery stable somebody's setting up late and talking.

Yes, it's clearing up. There are the stars - doing their old, old crisscross journeys in the sky. Scholars haven't settled the matter yet, but they seem to think there are no living beings up there. Just chalk ... or fire.

Only this one is straining away, straining away all the time to make something of itself. The strain's so bad that every sixteen hours everybody lies down and gets a rest. Hm ... Eleven o'clock in Grover's Corners. -- You get a good rest, too. Good night.

From Thornton Wilder's Our Town