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Enchanted Rock Star Festival Shines Light on Dark Skies

The night skies shine more brightly at designated International Dark-Sky Parks such as Enchanted Rock State Natural Area. The state park's third annual Star Festival is 5-10 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 1.

Enchanted Rock State Natural Area is celebrating its dark side.

Actually, the park is hosting a dark skies event with a “spotlight” on the stars and planets.

The third annual Enchanted Rock Star Festival is 5-10 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 1. The park is located at 16710 RR 965 near Fredericksburg.

The Hill Country Astronomers, Friends of Enchanted Rock, park staff, and local astronomer Ken Kattner will guide visitors on a trip across the skies, offering a look at the constellations, stars, and other deep space objects that you can see from Enchanted Rock.

You don’t have to bring a telescope, or even know which end to look through. The Hill Country Astronomers will have telescopes set up, and the group’s members will help you spot stars and planets. The event also includes a guided night hike to the top of Enchanted Rock and a constellation tour led by Kattner, who is with the International Dark-Sky Association and Putman Mountain Observatory.

The event is free with a park entrance fee of $7 for ages 13 and older. Ages 12 and under get in free. Or, consider purchasing a Texas State Parks Pass, which will get you into parks across the state for one annual fee.

The Star Festival schedule is:

  • 5 p.m. — Check in at park headquarters for directions and to get your flashlights “dark sky-ready.” There will be information tents set up near the comfort station restroom.
  • 5:30 p.m. — The Hill Country Astronomers will have a telescope set up near the comfort station restroom.
  • 6:30 p.m. — Meet below the gazebo for a group hike to the top of Enchanted Rock. (You must stay with your group at all times.)
  • 7 p.m. — A constellation tour with Kattner.

Park officials caution visitors not to use white lights as it takes 20-30 minutes for eyes to adjust from a bright light to darkness. Red-tinted lights are permitted, and staff will cover your white lights with red cellophane for the event.

Also, you should wear good hiking or walking shoes, bring water, and dress for the weather.

All events are expected to wrap up by 10 p.m.

Enchanted Rock State Natural Area is an International Dark-Sky Park, making it one of the best places to experience dark skies in the Hill Country.

Call (830) 685-3636 for more information.

editor@thepicayune.com

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