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Star gazing event in Bragg Creek

Bragg Creek residents are invited to gaze at the night sky and learn more about the solar system Feb. 4 and 19, when the Bragg Creek Community Association (BCCA) holds its Astronomy Night.
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Moonlight and stars
The Bragg Creek Community Association is inviting residents to look at the night sky Feb. 4 and 19 during its Astronomy Night program.

Bragg Creek residents are invited to gaze at the night sky and learn more about the solar system Feb. 4 and 19, when the Bragg Creek Community Association (BCCA) holds its Astronomy Night.

Ben McTaggart, BCCA events co-ordinator, said the event was born out of his own love of astronomy.

“My professor in college, he gave some very interesting and insightful evening views of the sky with different telescopes,” he said. “[My professor] is really the inspiration behind [this event]. I want to give some joy and inspiration to people, of the night sky.”

As a member of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, McTaggart will be renting a number of the organization’s telescopes for use at the event, which will be set up in the field outside the Bragg Creek Community Centre.

“They were very happy to let me do so. I am planning on having between three and four [telescopes],” he said. “There’s going to be a very interesting telescope where you just punch in the co-ordinates of where you want to go, and it zooms in.

“All you have to do is align it with three stars for reference, and then it basically knows where it is in time and space.”

The evening event is family friendly, McTaggart said, and great for the solo star gazer, as well.

“I think that’s one of the joys of the event,” he said. “You don’t have to be any particular age to get a kick out of what we’ll hopefully be getting to do here.”

Attendees will be shown how to use the telescopes at the beginning of the evening, and McTaggart said he plans to give a short presentation, pointing out notable night sky features.

Cloud cover will require the event be rescheduled, he added.

“If it’s interspersed clouds, that will be fine – we can just wait for a break,” he said. “But if it’s a cold month and it’s overcast, that would probably be a good reason to call it quits for that night.”

Astronomy Night runs Feb. 4 at 6 p.m. and Feb. 19 at 8 p.m. at the Bragg Creek Community Centre. The facility will be open for attendees to warm up or use the washrooms.

“Make sure you dress warmly,” McTaggart said. “It’s going to be about an hour [long program] outside.”

The cost is $5 for BCCA members and $15 for non-members. More information – including new dates, if the event has to be rescheduled due to weather – is available at facebook.com/BraggCreekCommunityAssociation