While on my spiritual trek this past June, we stopped at a rest stop in Pennsylvania. More specifically, the rest stop placed us in the town called Coudersport.
This was not just some random rest stop that we happened upon. Oh no! While being my normal inquisitive (aka nosy) self, I explored the area and saw this:
Amazing….right! Cherry Springs State Park is nearly as remote and wild today as it was two centuries ago! Named for the large stands of black cherry trees in the park, the 82-acre state park is surrounded by the 262,000-acre Susquehannock State Forest. The Susquehanna Trail passes nearby and offers 85 miles of backpacking and hiking.
However, as I continued to explore and read more about this town I learned that Cherry Springs is one of the best places on the eastern seaboard for stargazing due to its exceptionally dark skies.
Today the power of stargazing, an ancient activity, has been veiled by light pollution and lost in the luminosity of offices, traffic jams, and arenas. A hundred years ago, a perpetual orange haze did not obscure the Milky Way; light pollution did not exist then. Vincent Van Gogh’s 1889 masterpiece, Starry Night, depicts a sky few Americans have seen naturally—bright and mystical. Fortunately, today Van Gogh’s art-inspiring view is not extinct everywhere. At Cherry Springs State Park, anyone who leans back and looks up is sure to experience all the wonderment and awe that coincides with gazing at one of the last, true starry nights.
Since 2000, Astronomers and amateur star-gazers have flocked to remote Cherry Springs from around the country, just to stand and tilt their heads towards the cosmos. After visiting the park in 2007, New York Times writer Dave Caldwell wrote, “On a perfect night, particularly during a new moon, the Milky Way is so bright it casts shadows. Star-gazers hold out their hands and look at the shadows on the ground in awe.” While city and suburban star-gazers may only see thirty to a thousand stars speckled across the sky, visitors to Cherry Springs are treated to a brilliant splattering of about 10,000 stars. “You get kind of overwhelmed at how many stars are actually visible,” astronomer Stanley Nawrocki told Caldwell.’ (taken from article written By Erin L. Gavlock, Summer 2009)
Every year, Cherry Springs State Park hosts the “STAR PARTY”! This event is sponsored by the Astronomical Society of Harrisburg. This is a pre-registered event. It is held on the Astronomy Field of the park and you must be registered to attend for all activities except the public viewing night. There will be no public programming by park staff during this event.
I found the Facebook page for Cherry Park Star Party 2013 and it has a host of information on it. Much more than the website. There are food vendors and other vendors on site all three days. So purchasing meals on site is an option. There are many raffle prizes and door prizes. Not clear on all the activities but 2 out of the 3 days there are talks given on topics by NASA about Solar telescope viewing to “The Origin of Everything: How Things Got to Be the Way They Are Right Now”.
There is a fee to attend and registration is required. For a single student the cost is $30, single adult is $40, and a single family $55. Now as far as I understand these costs are for the entire 3 day event! (Psst!…..if you are planning on attending the event with friends, I would recommend you get together and purchase the single family package. Put it this way….$40 for 3 adults=$120 vs. $55 for a family of three. I am not promoting dishonesty…but that day!…we will all be Millers!)
Reminder these are the prices for the last star party. Keep checking their website or their Facebook page for up to date changes in pricing.
If you are interested in attending, I strongly recommend pre-registration as only 500 guests are accepted!
For more information and to register please go to the following website. http://www.astrohbg.org
Although we missed the 2013 STAR PARTY…as it was held on June 6-9. We can prepare to attend the 2014 STAR PARTY which will be held June 26-June 29!!!!!
Cherry Springs State Park is located at:
4639 Cherry Springs Rd, Coudersport, PA 16915Phone:(814) 435-5010
Cherry Springs Star Party – 2014!
Our 2013 Star Party was a great success and featured talented speakers and opportunities for observing. The Registration Desk will open at approximately 12 PM on Thursday and will be open at various times throughout the weekend. We hope to see YOU at the Star Party!
Happy Frrreeeee Hunting!