Central Arkansas Astronomical Society

After making the trip out to River Ridge for a meteor shower last summer, I’m a fervent devotee of what the Central Arkansas Astronomical Society does at its Perry County-based River Ridge Observatory. Namely, quietly assembling to observe sky events and get nerdy about them, sharing knowledge with the general public and partnering with Arkansas Tech University on research-class telescopes.

They’re holding a day of sky-related events 4-10 p.m. Saturday, May 7, in honor of National Astronomy Day, and it’ll be well worth your time to register. The observatory is north of Lake Maumelle in easternmost Perry County, about 35′ from the I-430 and Highway 10 interchange. (You’ll get more specific directions after you register.)

John Reed
River Ridge Observatory

The details (including what to bring along and what NOT to bring along), and a registration link:

National Astronomy Day Solar and Lunar observing event – River Ridge Observatory.

This special event is free, but attendance will be limited to 80 people. All ages welcome. A link to register is below, and you must register to attend. If you register and have a change of plans, please email info@caasastro.org.


Presentations and Activities:

4:00 – 6:00 Solar observing with h-alpha solar and Sunspotter scopes.
4:00 – 6:00 Giant Bubbles & Stomp Rockets – Observing Field
4:00 – 6:00 Children’s Celestial Art Contest – Deck
4:00 – 8:00 Information Tables:
2024 Solar Eclipse Display – Darcy Howard
Arkansas Natural Sky Association table
UALR meteor collection
4:15 – 4:25 Welcome to the RRO & Star Party Etiquette – Amphitheater
4:30 – 5:15 Novice Observer Program – Classroom
5:15 – 6:00 Saving the night sky for wildlife and humans – Classroom
6:00 – 7:00 Dinner, telescope show and tell, Q&A, & telescope help – Observing Field
7:00 – 7:25 Using binoculars for sky watching, star-hopping, and the celestial scavenger hunt – Amphitheater
7:30 – 7:45 Constellation tours – Observing Field, Deck, and Parking Area
7:45 – 10:00 Telescope observing, and celestial scavenger hunt


Guidelines and suggestions:
This is not a dark-sky event as always on NAD a quarter moon will be up. Still, white flashlights, flashing shoes, and such are not allowed on the observing field and cell phones should be turned off. You can use a white flashlight to get to and from your vehicle as parking will be on the road. Otherwise, you probably don’t need a flashlight unless you are doing the celestial scavenger hunt. If you think you might want a light on the Observing Field, bring a red flashlight or place red film (available in some arts and craft shops or auto parts stores) over a white light, or buy a small red key chain light at the event ($5 w/neck-lanyard).


Folding chairs, ground blankets, bug spray, and warmer than you think needed clothes might prove desirable. If you want to try your hand at the celestial scavenger hunt and have binoculars, bring them. There will be a few binoculars for loan, first come first served. Want help with setting up a telescope, bring it. If you register, please plan to attend the whole event. In any case, last entry is at 9:15. No drugs, alcohol, or pets, please.


Eats & Drinks

CAAS is not a Retail Food Establishment and you are welcome to bring your own food. However, grilled chili dogs, sausages, and fixings will be available. Suggested donation of $6 for adults, $4 for children appreciated. Snacks and drinks will be available for sale.


Okay, if you are ready to join in, register here.