Sky Interpretation Sessions at Ft. Pickens and Gulfside Pavilion

Sky interpretation sessions with slides and a lecture are followed by observation through various telescopes, and are scheduled from March to early October.  The August meeting will feature observation of the Perseid Meteor Shower.

The schedule changes from year to year, depending on Ft. Pickens events and the timing of the nearest weekend to the Perseid Meteor Shower.  Check Ft. Pickens event schedules for special events and presentations on alternate weekends by calling the Ft. Pickens Visitor Information Center (850) 934-2635.  For general Gulf Islands National Park information and interpretive program information, call (850) 934-2600.  Normal Park entrance fees apply to all activities.

Gulfside Pavilion stargazes will be concurrent with the weekend of the first quarter moon for each month.  For schedule information, please contact Ashley Chisholm at ashley@ewbullock.com
There are no fees associated with this stargaze at the foot of the "beach ball" water tower at Pensacola Beach. 

Summer camp sites should be reserved well in advance if you plan to attend the June through August stargazes, approximately every other week during the summer.  Reservations fill up quickly.  If you plan to camp, reserve Early.  Gulf Islands National Seashore takes reservations 5 months in advance.  To make a reservation, call 1-800-365-2267.  When asked for the first three letters of the camp for which you are reserving a camping area, type in G U L for Ft. Pickens campsites.  For more information on Ft. Pickens camping (facilities, fire circles, grills, etceteras), call Ft. Pickens Campground Registration at:  (850) 934-2622.

For more than 30 years, Escambia Amateur Astronomers' Association, has, in conjunction with the Interpretation staff at Ft. Pickens, conducted annual stargazes during the summer months. These stargazes are preceded by a program held at the Battery Worth Amphitheater (see map of Ft. Pickens--the right-hand turn is the first turn after you pass the camp store, also on the right-hand side of the road). The program, beginning at 8:30, consists of a slide presentation, constellation and bright star identification, planet identification, and satellite watches. Meteor showers are a bonus in August. Free star maps are distributed to those in attendance.  

All you need to bring is: bug spray (mosquitoes the size of a Piper Cub), long pants or a towel to sit on (log benches), and closed shoes (sandspurs--if you haven't experienced sandspurs...well....imagine a miniature spike ball with needle-sharp, barbed spikes that hurt as though  you were locally poisoned once they get some of their many barbs into you...Florida has interesting flora, to say the least!). Binoculars or small telescopes are your option--for meteor and satellite watching, tilt-back, folding chaise lounges are nice (and a small cooler with iced soda pop and snacks).  Optical instruments other than your naked eye are of little use during the Perseid Meteor Shower, unless you want to do some traditional astronomical observing. 

Following the program, which lasts about 30 - 40 minutes, EAAA club members will have telescopes of varying types and sizes set up on the beach side of the Battery Worth parking lot near the rest rooms. You may stay as long as you like. Telescopes will be set on planets, double stars, nebulae, open or globular clusters, or other interesting celestial objects.

For further information on the city of Pensacola, access the link to the Pensacola Chamber of Commerce.

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