Exhibits, UGRR

Under the Night Sky: North Star to Freedom

Saturday, July 5, 2014, 9 p.m.
Night Sky Location: Muncy Heritage Park & Nature Trail, 601 Pepper Street, Muncy
Free Admission (Rain or Shine); Pre-registration required by calling 570-546-5917

Life for a runaway was full of hazards. A journey to freedom meant traveling  by night, using the North Star as a guide and trying to avoid search parties. In addition to the North Star, aka the “drinking gourd,” the night sky is filled with stars and constellations that were very important to the conductors and voyagers along the UGRR.

Since most travelling was done under the cover of night, stars and other celestial objects were used as guides to direct slaves north. The park is the ideal location to explore the night sky outdoors while imagining how to navigate by recognizing these astronomical guides.

Muncy Historical Society will host its second “Under the Night Sky” event at 9 p.m. Saturday, July 5. Chris Della Piazza, an amateur astronomer and astrophotographer, will lead the night-sky viewing program at the society’s Heritage Park and Nature Trail location, 601 Pepper St., Muncy.

Pre-registration required by calling 570-546-5917

As darkness falls, park guests will be invited to view the night sky through one of the park-provided telescopes. Visible very near the waxing moon will be Spica, the brightest star in the constellation Virgo the Maiden. The slightly brighter star-like object near the moon and Spica is the ruddy planet Mars. Also in the southern sky is Saturn, distinguishable by its golden color.

The park is the ideal location to explore the night sky outdoors. Guests are encouraged to arrive at the park between 8:45 and 9 p.m. to give their eyes an opportunity to adapt to the lack of light. Flashlights covered in red cellophane will be made available and red candle luminaries will line the pathways to the telescope-viewing areas. To encourage further learning, each young person will receive a “Glow in the Dark Star Finder” to continue night-sky exploration on his or her own.

Muncy Historical Society’s meetings and events are always open to the public, with free admission unless stated. This is an all-outside event so dress appropriately. The decision to cancel the evening’s activities due to inclement weather conditions will be made by 5 p.m. on July 5. Contact 570-564-5917 for an update when weather is a consideration.

The society’s 2014 Calendar of Events is a year of learning and focus on the Underground Railroad, the secret paths traveled by African Americans to escape slavery. A descriptive listing of all 2014 events and programs can be viewed at www.MuncyHistoricalSociety.org.

Pre-registration required by calling 570-546-5917


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