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Bates State Park hosts Star Party Aug. 14

Aug. 3, 2015

New moon and Perseids meteor shower pair for perfect night sky watching

Prairie City, OR - The night sky over Bates State Park will set the scene for a Star Party Aug. 14 at 7:30 p.m. Local amateur astronomers and volunteers from Redmond will join the party with telescopes for visitors to view summer constellations, star clusters and planets.

"We are fortunate in rural eastern Oregon to have incredible dark night skies, with little to no light pollution," said Park Manager Dennis Bradley. "Add a new moon and the Perseids meteor shower to the mix, and we have the perfect formula for an unforgettable evening."

The Perseids meteor shower produces up to 60 bright meteors per hour from mid-July through late August, peaking this year Aug. 12-13. The night sky will be darker than usual on Aug. 14 because the new moon will not be visible and thus no moonlight.

That evening, stargazers can also enjoy an old-fashioned campfire and hear stories from folks who lived in Bates when it was still a thriving logging town. Visitors can sing campfire songs, roast marshmallows and munch on s'mores provided by the park. The event and day-use parking are free.

Saturday morning take a tour of nearby Sumpter Valley Dredge State Heritage Area and the Kam Wah Chung State Heritage Area museum in John Day. Both the dredge and museum are free.

Bates State Park has 28 primitive or "non-hook-up" sites available first-come, first-served. Pitch your tent or sleep under the stars. Bates State Park is 30 miles northeast of John Day located on Middle Fork Lane off Highway 7, one mile north of its intersection with U.S. 26 at Austin Junction. More park information and directions are available at www.oregonstateparks.org/