Starry Treats for Halloween

Make Starry Treats for Halloween part of your Halloween tradition. There is no easier way for amateur astronomers to share dark skies with their neighbors and build understanding of the effects of light pollution.

This year the weather for Halloween is predicted to be cool and clear in Austin. Temperatures should be in the high 40s after sunset. I want to ask all amateur astronomers to join Mary and I in sharing views from a telescope along with Halloween treats.

Being outside is also great opportunity enjoy Halloween antics in your neighborhood. Here is what we do:

  • Set up to receive trick-or-treaters on your front walk or driveway. A bowl of candy, table, chairs and a telescope are all you need.
  • Halloween decorations and night sky friendly lighting go well together and keep toes and equipment safe.
  • At least two adults are helpful once things get busy, one to manage the candy and one to help with the telescope. You want to have time to answer questions from your most inspired visitors.

Both parents and children enjoy our Starry Treats events. We had one teen say that the views were better than candy. With good weather, relaxing outdoors between visitors is much nicer than a string of door bell interruptions.

Keep it simple with views of the Moon, planets, and other easy to see targets works well. In our neighborhood the fun starts around 7 PM but the cool weather may keep things earlier this year.

For 2019, Venus and Mercury are low in the west right after sunset, if you have a good view of the horizon. The best easy quick views are in the southwest centered on the Moon. The four day old waxing crescent moon will look compelling in almost any telescope and earthshine should be visible. Jupiter will be below and to the right of the Moon. Saturn will be to the left and a bit above the Moon.

Many of the children we see in our neighborhood, might never get the chance to go to a star party or visit an observatory. Giving a young child their first view of a planet, or craters on the Moon is a thrill and a chance to inspire a lifelong interest.

Before Halloween, we also post about this activity in local astro and neighborhood news sources to inform parents and encourage other astronomers to bring their scopes out. Make Starry Treats for Halloween a tradition at your home this year!

Content created: 2019-10-29




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