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Evening of Night Sky

A spe­cial Hobbs State Park Star Party, co-hosted by the Su­gar Creek As­tro­nom­i­cal So­ci­ety and the Pho­to­graphic So­ci­ety of NWA, will be held Satur­day, May 12. The night be­gins with short lec­tures at 7:30 p.m., fol­lowed by a Star Party be­gin­ning at 8:30 p.m. in which the pub­lic will be able to look through pow­er­ful tele­scopes and prac­tice dark-sky pho­tog­ra­phy. The course is free and will be held at the Vis­i­tor Cen­ter.

Tim John­son of the Pho­to­graphic So­ci­ety of NWA will kick off the evening with a brief pre­sen­ta­tion on “Night Pho­tog­ra­phy.” He will show some of the equip­ment used, tech­niques, and share some amaz­ing ex­am­ples of the kind of pho­to­graphs of the night sky that can be achieved. Fol­low­ing the lec­ture, take your own night-sky pho­to­graphs dur­ing the Star Party.

Rick Mar­shall, pres­i­dent of Su­gar Creek As­tro­nom­i­cal So­ci­ety, will give a pre­sen­ta­tion on the king of the plan­ets, Jupiter. He will cover some facts about the largest planet in our so­lar sys­tem, the his­tory of hu­man in­ves­ti­ga­tion of Jupiter and its moons, and what to ex­pect when look­ing at Jupiter dur­ing the Star Party.

What to bring if you can: Camera and a tri­pod for night-sky pho­tog­ra­phy; flash­light (cov­ered with a red cloth or red bal­loon); binoc­u­lars and/or te­le­scope; fold­ing chair for one per per­son and a star chart if you have one.

Po­lar Bears

Come hear and see an ex­cep­tion­ally in­ter­est­ing and in­for­ma­tive pro­gram on a most timely sub­ject. Hand­outs on a va­ri­ety of na­ture sub­jects will be avail­able. This will take place at 2 p.m. Sun­day, June 3, at the Park Vis­i­tor Cen­ter and there is no cost to at­tend.

De­nis Dean, 15-year Arkansas and Florida mas­ter naturalist, will speak on the plight of these ma­jes­tic car­ni­vores. Ac­cord­ing to Dean, “This pro­gram is about the ef­fect the melt­ing ice is hav­ing on po­lar bears and the loss of their habi­tat — which may cause the en­tire pop­u­la­tion to re­vert back to where they orig­i­nated, as brown bears. Sci­en­tific ev­i­dence has found that the brown bear, a species that also in­cludes griz­zly bears, was a pre­cur­sor to po­lar bears, which then went on to de­velop spe­cial­iza­tions for in­hab­it­ing the harsh Arc­tic.”

Ac­cord­ing to “Sci­ence” magazine, po­lar bears burn up to 12,300 calo­ries per day, mainly on a diet of seals. How do they “hunt” those seals? The bears wait for hours by seals’ cone­shaped breath­ing holes in the sea ice. When a seal sur­faces to breathe, the bear stands on its hind legs and smacks the seal on the head with both of its front paws to stun it. Then the bear bites it on the neck and drags it onto the ice. They’re far more suc­cess­ful do­ing this than any other method of hunt­ing.


The Hobbs State Park-Con­ser­va­tion Area Vis­i­tor Cen­ter con­tact phone num­ber is 479789-5006 and is lo­cated on Arkansas High­way 12 just east of the War Ea­gle Road in­ter­sec­tion. To learn more about up­com­ing Friends of Hobbs speak­ers and other park pro­grams, go to www. friend­sofhobbs.com.

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