VIEW | Astronomical Observation: NASA, NOAA to be Welcomed by Lake Ouachita State Park

NASA is collaborating with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Earth to Sky, and the Hot Springs Village Stargazers Club to host a stargazing event at Lake Ouachita State Park. This event will provide an opportunity for amateur stargazers to explore the night sky with astrophysicists ahead of the total solar eclipse on Monday. The event will be held over two nights, with a cap of 125 participants each night. Those interested are recommended to make a reservation to ensure their participation.

The event will commence with an informal introduction session with the guest speakers, followed by presentations from the scientists affiliated with the organizations involved. Participants will be provided with telescopes by the Hot Springs Village Stargazers to observe constellations and other celestial bodies.

The event is free and open to the public. However, due to limited space, visitors are encouraged to register in advance and carpool if possible. The event will begin with a casual meet and greet with the scientists at 7:30 p.m., followed by an informative presentation by park rangers and scientists at 8:00 p.m. Stargazing will commence at 9:00 p.m. and last for approximately an hour.

Attendees are advised to bring a flashlight for their return journey, but the flashlights will be modified to emit red light to prevent disruption of night vision. The event is accessible for all, with accommodations being made for those requiring ADA parking. The event site is a short walk from the visitor center on a paved road.

While the event is family-friendly, pets are not allowed unless they are service animals. Participants are encouraged to bring lawn chairs or blankets for seating. The park’s campground and cabins are already fully booked for the weekend, but the surrounding Ouachita National Forest allows for primitive dispersed camping. Campers are advised to follow the “Leave No Trace” principle and maintain a distance of at least 100 feet from any water source due to potential flooding.

In conclusion, this event offers a unique opportunity for amateur stargazers and families to explore the night sky with expert guidance from NASA scientists. As space is limited, interested individuals are advised to register in advance and prepare appropriately. The event promises to be a fun and educational experience for all participants.

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