Slytherins get Sirius at kickoff event for season of themed star parties

Andy McAffee (left) shows 12-inch telescope to participants at the "Very Sirius Star Party," Cedar City, Utah, April 14, 2018 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News / Cedar City News

CEDAR CITY — More than 100 people showed up for the Southern Utah Space Foundation’s first themed star party of the year Saturday evening.

The free event, called “A Very Sirius Star Party” took place at Cedar Canyon Nature Park. Organizers and many of the participants were dressed as characters from the magical world of Harry Potter.

Southern Utah Space Foundation’s “Very Sirius Star Party,” Cedar City, Utah, April 14, 2018 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News / Cedar City News

Event coordinator Jaitee Pitts, dressed as Professor Trelawney, welcomed dozens of would-be Hogwarts students, along with a number of parents and other family members.

“Percentage-wise we did get a large show of Slytherins and Ravenclaws, less Gryffindors and very few Hufflepuffs,” observed fellow organizer Lee Ricci.

On one of the activities, Ricci joined Sterling Young in leading the participants on a night walk through “The Forbidden Forest,” during which they talked about navigating by the stars.

In addition, Andy McAffee brought a 12-inch telescope and showed off various stars and nebulae. Kids of all ages clamored to get an up-close look at Sirius and other not-so-Sirius astronomical wonders.

For yet another activity, Kaleb Smith and Jasmine James conducted a constellation tour and presented the sky as a whole.

At the conclusion of the event, participants gathered for OWL (Ordinary Wizarding Level) tests featuring questions about astronomy and about the Harry Potter books. Commemorative crystals, certificates and other prizes were handed out.

“Slytherin won the house cup because they were able to answer the most and hardest questions,” Ricci said.

SUSF’s next scheduled star party will be at the same location at the Cedar Canyon Nature Park, near the mouth of the canyon, on Saturday, May 12 at 9 p.m. The nature-themed event will feature a night walk, constellation tour and a presentation on nocturnal wildlife around a campfire. It is free and the public is invited to attend. SUSF will also provide marshmallows to roast over the fire.

For more information about SUSF, its activities and events, click here.

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