Astronomy Workshop at Hobbs

Jill M. Rohrbach
My husband’s parents gave our kids a telescope when they came to visit this summer. We still haven’t taken the time to learn how to use it, which is really bothering me. Fortunately, Hobbs State Park-Conservation Area offers star gazing events. Even better, it will offer a Galileo Scope Workshop to help people learn about the night sky on Dec. 11. My family definitely needs to sign up.

This unique hands-on astronomy workshop begins at 4 p.m. at the park’s visitor center on Ark. 12 east of Rogers. Participants will build their own full-scale working model of the telescope used by Galileo 400 years ago. The workshop is for those 10 years and up, and has proven to be a superb family experience.

According to the park press release, “The easy-to-understand workshop will be taught by Stuart Riley, PhD of Physics in Astronomy. Stuart’s particular interests include double stars, variable stars, and planetary nebulae. He has served as an officer with the Astronomical Societies of Kansas City, and is now a member of the NWA Star Gazers. According to Riley, ‘I enjoy outreach and teaching the public and interested students in searching and learning the night skies, how to view with telescopes, and some theory on why astronomy, chemistry, physics, and nature are highly integrated. More importantly, I enjoy the splendor of spending time under Arkansas night skies at Hobbs.’”

After the workshop, the group will move on to night sky viewing. All participants are asked to bring: A tripod for their Galileoscope, one folding chair per person, binoculars, and flashlights with the lenses covered either with red cloth or a red balloon.

The cost of the workshop is $35 plus tax, and includes one Galileo Scope and instruction for up to four people in a group. The cost is $5 for each additional person over the four person limit. Workshop space is limited, so call 479-789-5000 to make a reservation. Find out more about the park at

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