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Stargazers to gather in Calhoun County this weekend

Staff report

The State Journal

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Amateur astronomers will gather near Grantsville this weekend for the fourth annual Calhoun Stargaze.

The two-day, three-night stargazing party is part of an effort to spur economic development in distressed Appalachian communities. It is supported by the Appalachian Regional Commission and the West Virginia Development Office. Other project partners include the University of Tennessee, Calhoun County, the city of Grantsville, Fairmont State University and West Virginia University Extension.

The event will give local residents an opportunity to interact with astronomers and see planets and stars through world-class telescopes.

The event runs May 19-21. Calhoun County Park, located just south of Grantsville, is one of the darkest spots in the Eastern U.S. It sits on a ridge with an elevation of around 1,100 feet. The park has several ridge top locations to set up on and a large flat open field to potentially handle several hundred observers.

The Milky Way can easily be followed from one horizon to the next. There are just a couple of small light domes. One is to the northeast and one is to the west. The sky from the southwest through the south to the eastern horizon is pitch dark. At 38 degrees latitude, the constellations are higher than experienced at more northern locations.
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