On April 12th, 1961, Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin made history as the first human to travel into space. The Las Cruces Space Festival, along with dozens of other events around the world, will be celebrating the anniversary of human spaceflight on Friday, April 12th.
New Mexico State University (NMSU) Astronomy Department in collaboration with the Astronomical Society of Las Cruces will be hosting a stargazing party at La Cueva picnic spot in the Dripping Springs area of the Organ Mountains. Sunset on April 12th will fall at 7.34pm and only the first 75 vehicles will be admitted before this time. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) will be closing the gate at sunset.
Magdalena Ridge Assistant Director of Outreach and Communications, Colleen Gino, will present her talk on ‘Small Telescopes at a Major Observatory’ at 7.30pm at the La Cueva Area in Dripping Springs. NMSU Astronomy Professor Dr. Chris Churchill was also provide an overview of the space objects that will be viewed through the telescopes during the event.
The stargazing party is free but vehicles will still be responsible for paying the $5 (cash or check) BLM parking permit. We strongly suggest visitors consider carpooling when possible.
White Sands National Monument will also be hosting an Astronomy Program on April 12th in the Monument’s Amphitheater. The program ‘From the Nursery to the Graveyard’ will explore the lives of stars and their connection and importance to us here in Earth. Telescope viewing of the moon and deep space objects will follow the program. The event will start at 7.30pm and while the program is free, National Monument entrance fees still apply.
Downtown Las Cruces will also be hosting a night of free family fun and entertainment for Yuri’s Night.