Archive for the 'stargazing' Category

The Dark Skies of Texas

Monday, April 24th, 2017
South Llano River Light Pollution Map. The park is at the crosshairs.

South Llano River Light Pollution Map. The park is at the crosshairs.

This is Passport to Texas

An International Dark Sky Park is similar to a wildlife refuge. But instead of providing protection and habitat for animal species to thrive, these parks and surrounding communities protect the ebony backdrop of the night sky so stars can shine bright for our enjoyment.

Texas welcomed South Llano State Park, located outside of Junction, as its third International Dark Sky Park. It joins Copper Breaks State Park in the Panhandle and Enchanted Rock State Natural Area in the Hill Country.

Five miles from the nearest town, South Llano River State Park ranks as a “3” on the Bortle [Dark Sky] Scale, which ranks skies from 1 to 9. One includes the darkest skies and nine the least dark. The darkness at South Llano River State Park provides visitors with a spectacular view of the stars.

Regular Dark Sky programming, such as star parties will be hosted throughout the year at the park. It’s where visitors can learn about the importance of dark skies to wildlife and people. It also allows the public to view the night sky, celestial objects and constellations free from light pollution.

For more information on the dark skies at Texas State Parks, visit the dark skies program page on the Texas parks and Wildlife website.

That’s our show for today… Funding provided in part by Ram Trucks. Guts. Glory. Ram

For Texas Parks and Wildlife, I’m Cecilia Nasti.

Mid January Resolution: Take More Nature Photos

Monday, January 23rd, 2017
Caprock Canyons State Park-- a great place for nature photography.

Caprock Canyons State Park– a great place for nature photography.

This is Passport to Texas

Last time my colleague Aaron Friar and I got together to talk about holiday events in state parks for the radio show, I also asked him if he had any resolutions for the New Year that include the outdoors.

Well, one thing that I would really like to work on is outdoor photography. I love taking pictures—I do it a lot now—but I want to do it more and hone my skills. Do a lot more dark sky photography. I think that’s really neat. I’ve seen that a lot lately, and that just really gets me excited. I have a camera; I really want to get involved in trying to get some of those really special shots. All it takes is getting out and doing it. Where’s a park you’d like to do some of that? Oh, that’s a great, great question. I’m actually in love with Caprock Canyons—and it’s so photogenic out there with the mountains and the colors and the wildlife. The sunsets out there are absolutely beautiful. So, that’s one site that I think is really, really good for that. But, then again, in the spring in the Hill Country…I mean, you can’t beat the wildflowers. I mean, it’s just so hard to say. That’s a really tough question. But I really am enjoying Caprock, and there’s a lot of great chance to get some good photography out there.

What do you want to do new or better in the outdoors this year? Let us know at

That’s our show for today… Funding provided in part by Ram Trucks. Guts. Glory. Ram

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

Meteors Over Texas

Friday, August 5th, 2016

Keep an eye on the night sky and you might see a meteor.

This is Passport to Texas

When small fragments of cosmic debris—created when a comet swings past the sun—enter the earth’s atmosphere at high rates of speed, they’re visible as streaks of light in the night sky. And there are plenty of meteor showers on the way.

The popular Perseid meteor shower, which peaks in mid-August, is among the more popular meteor events, and seems to originate from the constellation Perseus. In dark sky locations, expect to see up to 75 meteors an hour.

From early October to Mid-November the Orionids are visible. In a normal year you may see 20-25 meteors an hour; in a great year, as many as 50/hr.

The Leonids, are visible much of November, caused by the comet Temple-Tuttle. The Leonids have offered stunning meteor storms as recently as 2001, but expect only 15 meteors an hour through 2031 when the comet reappears.

The Geminids, visible from early to mid-December, are often bright and intensely colored. Meteors start showing up before 10 p.m., which means you don’t have to get up in the middle of the night to see them.

Whether you see 1 or 100 meteors, it’s always a thrill. You can always find more stargazing information in the Texas Parks and Wildlife website.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.