Devils Tower

A star party will be held at Devils Tower on Sunday.

Casper Star-Tribune file

Devils Tower will host its final star parties of the season on Sunday, Dec. 11, and Wednesday, Dec. 14, offering grand sights in clear night skies.

The event on Dec. 11 is a Planet Watch, in which viewers can see Mercury (the smallest planet and the one closest to the sun), Venus (the second planet from the Sun) and Mars (the fourth planet from the sun and second-smallest planet).

"We'll be able to see a lot of stars and planets as long as the weather holds for us," said Nancy Stimson, chief of interpretation at Devils Tower National Monument. "We do advise people to bring warm clothes."

The second event on Dec. 14 will show the Geminids Meteor Shower, which will see 120 meteors per hour in multiple colors across dark skies near the Gemini constellation.

"These meteors travel 22 miles per second," Stimson said. "It's one of the most spectacular meteor showers all year."

Telescopes will be available to see deep sky objects and shapes that star enthusiasts might not otherwise be able to see.

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"I think when it comes to stargazing, people enjoy the mystery of the solar system and the mystery of the stars," Stimson said. "We know they're there, but we often don't know a lot about them, so the interest in them seems to be growing, and Devils Tower gives you an amazing view of them."

In the event of inclement weather, the program may be canceled. Those attending are asked to meet at the kiosk across from the visitor center. For more information, call 307-467-5283, ext. 635.

Contact Max B. O'Connell at 394-8427 or max.oconnell@rapidcityjournal.com

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