MUNCY - Muncy Historical Society will host its first of many Underground Railroad-related activities scheduled for 2014, beginning with "Under the Night Sky - Half the Park is After Dark" at 8 p.m. Saturday.
Chris Della Piazza, who has been an amateur astronomer and astro-photographer since 1992, will lead the evening program at the society's Heritage Park and Nature Trail location, 601 Pepper St.
A journey to freedom for the runaway slave meant traveling only a few miles 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.
The park is the ideal location to explore the night sky outdoors while imagining how to navigate by recognizing these astronomical guides.
The evening's activities will begin with Della Piazza conducting a brief Astronomy 101 presentation at the park's Educational Pavilion. Della Piazza, who operates a private observatory from his backyard in Muncy, and specializes in deep sky imaging of galaxies, will direct attendees to the Observation Deck where a number of telescopes will offer a closer view of the night sky.
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.
The society's meetings and events are always open to the public, with free admission unless otherwise stated. For the outdoor event, participants are asked to dress accordingly. For "Under the Night Sky" volunteers will have hot dogs and hot chocolate available for sale.
The society 2014 events focus on the Underground Railroad, the secret paths traveled by African Americans to escape slavery. A listing of all 2014 events and programs can be viewed at www.Muncy HistoricalSociety.org.