Universe in the Park returns for 22nd season in Wisconsin

MADISON, WI - Visitors to Wisconsin State Park System properties have more opportunities than ever to view and learn about the night sky by participating in the "Universe in the Park" outreach program conducted by students and staff of the Department of Astronomy at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
This year students will be putting on 54 programs at 25 different properties starting May 26, and running through Oct. 13
"Universe in the Park," which began in 1996, is predicated on the idea that the best environment in which to enjoy astronomy is outside under dark skies, according to Eric M. Wilcots, who coordinates the program.
The programs also offer another incentive for people to bring their families out to visit park system properties to enjoy many of the other recreational opportunities. The state park system is encouraging people to stay active in parks through a new OutWiGo initiative to promote good health through the great outdoors
A typical session begins just after sunset, usually about 9 p.m., with a 20- to 30-minute talk and slide show about astronomy. Topics are left up to the speaker, and present a broad overview of astronomy and recent astronomical news such as the discovery of new solar systems and the latest results from the Hubble Space Telescope. Afterwards, if nights are clear, participants can gather around telescopes to view astronomical objects with the guidance of UW-Madison astronomy students.
Most of the question-and-answer period takes place around the telescopes. During the height of the summer, the sessions can attract audiences of 70 to 80 people.
Visitors can show up for the slide show and question-and-answer period even if it is cloudy and the sky cannot be viewed through the telescope. If it is raining, the sessions are held only if there is a shelter available.
Universe in the Park events are free, but visitors to most Wisconsin State Parks System properties must have a daily or annual vehicle admission sticker.
Anyone interested in attending a session should always contact the park to make sure the program is being held as scheduled, because the schedule occasionally changes. A "UitP Schedule" is available on the Universe in the Park website and these and other astronomy events at Wisconsin state park properties can be found by searching the DNR website for "Get Outdoors" and selecting "astronomy" under the activity "type" button.

2018 Universe in the Park Schedule
* May 26: Blue Mound State Park, Kohler-Andrae State Park.
* June 9: Devil's Lake State Park.
* June 15: Willow River State Park.
* June 16: Governor Thompson State Park, Interstate State Park.
* June 23: Governor Dodge State Park, Mirror Lake State Park.
* June 29: Flambeau River State Forest.
* June 30: Northern Highland/American Legion State Forest, Kettle Moraine State Forest - Southern Unit, Wildcat Mountain State Park.
* July 7: Mirror Lake State Park, Yellowstone Lake State Park.
* July 12: Rock Island State Park.
* July 13: Devil's Lake State Park, Newport State Park.
* July 14: Buckhorn State Park, Peninsula State Park.
* July 15: Potawatomi State Park.
* July 21: Governor Dodge State Park, Kohler-Andrae State Park.
* July 27: Kettle Moraine State Forest - Southern Unit.
* July 28: Lake Wissota State Park.
* Aug. 3: Pattison State Park.
* Aug. 4: Amnicon Falls State Park, Blue Mound State Park.
* Aug. 10: Potawatomi State Park, Willow River State Park.
Aug. 11: Governor Dodge State Park, Interstate State Park, Peninsula State Park.
* Aug. 12: Newport State Park.
* Aug. 13: Rock Island State Park.
* Aug. 17: Flambeau River State Forest, Buckhorn State Park.
* Aug. 17: Copper Falls State Park.
* Aug. 18: Northern Highland/American Legion State Forest, Big Bay State Park, Devil's Lake State Park.
* Aug. 25: Kettle Moraine State Forest - Southern Unit, Mirror Lake State Park.
* Sept. 1: Lake Wissota State Park, Yellowstone Lake State Park.
* Sept. 8: Devil's Lake State Park.
* Sept. 14: Newport State Park.
* Sept. 15: Governor Dodge State Park, Peninsula State Park.
* Sept. 22: Kohler-Andrae State Park, Mirror Lake State Park.
* Sept. 29: Copper Falls State Park, Wildcat Mountain State Park.
* Oct. 12: Newport State Park.
* Oct. 13: Peninsula State Park.

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR