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April 15, 2014

Explore the cosmos at free Star Party on April 26 at Chandler’s Veterans Oasis Park
 
Star Viewing Party at Veterans Oasis Park and the Environmental Education CenterApril 20-26, 2014, is International Dark Sky Week, when Dark Sky advocates attempt to raise awareness of how light pollution not only affects our view of the night sky but also the natural environment. The Chandler Environmental Education Center (EEC) at Veterans Oasis Park will observe Dark Sky Week and Global Astronomy Month by hosting a Star Party on Saturday, April 26, from 8:30 to 10 p.m. The EEC is located within the park at 4050 E. Chandler Heights Road, just east of Lindsay Road.
 
The event is free, open to the public, and appropriate for all ages. Attendees will be able to explore and appreciate the beauty of Arizona's amazing night sky with the assistance of the East Valley Astronomy Club (EVAC), whose members will set up their telescopes for viewing stars, planets, nebulae, star clusters and more. Although it’s best to arrive early to see as much as possible, participants may arrive and join the program at any time.
 
Telescope viewing takes place outside the EEC at the east end of the parking lot. Visitors should park in the west side of the parking lot and then walk to the east side of the lot, where the telescopes will be set up. Visitors are asked to please drive carefully, since the park lights will be turned off during the program. Flashlights are discouraged near the telescopes, but those who wish to use the park for other activities, such as fishing, are encouraged to plan ahead and bring their own low-level lighting such as a lantern or headlamp.
 
Prior to the telescope viewing – during daylight hours –visitors are invited to take a self-guided tour of the Chandler Solar System Walk around the park’s lake. The signs and monuments that make up the educational walk include information and images about the sun, planets, and other objects in the solar system.
 
Information about light pollution and Dark Sky initiatives will be on display inside the EEC from April 20 through May 2. In addition, residents are encouraged to participate in International Dark Sky Week by turning out their exterior house lights for a period of time and enjoying the beauty of the night sky.
 
Inclement weather could alter or cancel this event, so it is recommended that interested participants check visibility Saturday, and if the sky is cloudy, call the EEC Program Hotline at 480-782-2889 for updates.
 
The Environmental Education Center at Veterans Oasis Park is a City of Chandler facility that promotes eco-friendly lifestyles through modeling and through programs, classes and workshops for children and adults. The EEC is open six days a week: Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. The EEC is closed on Sundays and on City of Chandler holidays.
 
Like all City of Chandler parks, Veterans Oasis Park is open 6 a.m.-10:30 p.m., every day of the year. For more information about the Environmental Education Center or Veterans Oasis Park, please call 480-782-2890, send an e-mail to EEC@chandleraz.gov, or visit www.chandleraz.gov/veterans-oasis.