Long before Hollywood, in fact, long before planet earth, there were stars. Billions and billions and billions. The Lake Havasu region happens to be an excellent location for stargazing once you drive just a few miles beyond the bright lights of downtown. In fact, that’s one reason there are no streetlights in the residential areas â€“ to protect the night sky for all to enjoy.
Barbara Thompson should know. A retired fiber optics researcher originally from Bedford, MA, she and her husband are members of the Lake Havasu Astronomy Club. The club meets at 6:30 p.m. on the second Thursday of every month (September – June) at the Mohave County Public Library, which located in the K-Mart Center on McCulloch Blvd. It’s an informal club with no membership dues, and the public is always welcome to attend.
Thompson advises that people download one of the many smartphone stargazing apps, head outside of town, and look first for the Milky Way: the galaxy that contains our solar system. Fun fact: it was first studied by telescope in 1610 by Galileo Galilei who determined the band of light he saw on clear nights was actually made up of individual stars.
Sadly, the Milky Way is not visible to most of the US due to light pollution, something the Club tries to avoid by holding their events at the abandoned Site Six airport and in Cattail Cove State Park.
Thompson says you don’t need your own telescope to enjoy the Arizona night skies. During the club’s star parties, you can look through members’ telescopes. Also consider bringing your own binoculars, which actually are a great way to see star clusters, such as Pleiades, which is among the nearest star clusters to Earth and the cluster most visible to the naked eye in the night sky. Another fun fact: interestingly enough, the Pleiades inspired the Subaru car logo. For real. Google it.
Clearly, our desert night sky is a stargazer’s best friend. To learn about upcoming star parties in the area, go to www.lakehavasuastronomy.org. The website will also tell you when the International Space Station is scheduled to cross the skies above Lake Havasu City.
For a list of stars you’ll be able to see in the skies above Lake Havasu City this spring, go to: https://golakehavasu.com/activities/attractions/stargazing/