Belleville Chamber Invites You to Join UFO Day Dark Sky Event
A new way to celebrate UFO Day: Ponder possibilities, over probabilities. Lights out at 9:30 PM on October 31st!
October 15, 2020
Belleville, Wisconsin, has been looking to the skies for the improbable for decades. There was very little probability that, in 1987, several prominent members of the greater Belleville community would look to the skies and see unidentified flying objects (UFO’s). Still, it happened.
It was even less probable that through the years this same community would join in the fun of the possibilities behind lights in the sky, and sustain an entire annual festival, UFO Days, for more than a generation. If you think about it, UFO Days really is extraordinary; a celebration of possibilities over probabilities. This year is extraordinary for very different reasons; and the Belleville Chamber of Commerce invites everyone to step outside and ponder possibilities over probabilities, for our families, businesses and the greater community, as part of a UFO Day Dark Sky Event: a shared experience of viewing the night sky, with less intrusion from artificial light. Participating is simple and free: shut off all residential and business exterior lights for 30 minutes – and any interior lights that “spill” outside – as much as is safely possible at 9:30 p.m., Saturday, October 31, 2020. Then, step onto your porch or back yard and look to the skies.
While we cannot gather in the same way due to COVID-19, we might ponder the possibility that this is literally happening, “once in a blue moon.” According to Kay Kriewald, Senior Outreach Specialist with UW Space Place, a blue moon is commonly known as the second full moon in a calendar month. This particular blue moon will rise at approximately 6:11 p.m., on Halloween, and it won’t be the only thing to see that evening over Belleville. Weather permitting, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn will all make an appearance as “identified objects,” even with the naked eye. When the moon rises, look to its right in the southeastern sky to find Mars. You should be able to notice its red coloring. Then, face southwest and see if you can find Jupiter and Saturn; Jupiter will be the brighter of the two objects and Saturn will be the fainter object just to the left of Jupiter. At 9:30 p.m., with the lighting reduced, see if you can find these planets again. Kriewald notes we have all become so accustomed to seeing a light-polluted sky, that we may be amazed by how much more we can see with reduced lights. All three planets will be visible with the naked eye, and if you have a pair of binoculars or home telescope, you may be surprised. Under the right conditions, the moons of Jupiter and rings of Saturn may be seen. By 9:30 p.m., they will be very close to the Southwestern horizon – so don’t wait too long to give it a try before they “fall” behind the horizon.
If you were too busy with your candy, don’t fret. There is still plenty to see. There are many apps available and Kriewald recommends downloading the monthly sky calendar at http://www.skymaps.com. It offers a free simple sky chart that will help you find your favorite constellations, with links to more information. The idea for the UFO Day Dark Sky Event came from the International Dark Sky Association; a non-profit that “works to protect the night skies for present and future generations.” Their programming includes efforts to help keep our view of the night sky accessible, including the designation of Dark Sky Sanctuaries or Parks, such as Wisconsin’s Newport State Park in Door County. They also work with individuals, contractors, communities and energy companies, to find energy-saving and cost-effective home and street lighting, with minimal light intrusion for neighbors.
The Village of Belleville doesn’t hold official trick-or-treat hours, nor are age limits imposed for participants. As in the past, Belleville residents who wish to share treats, or participate in other activities (such as certain food drives, etc.), customarily turn on their porch lights whenever they are ready for trick-or-treaters on the evening of October 31, 2020. All participants – giving and receiving - are also asked to follow any safety guidance from local law enforcement and public health staff.
Typically, trick-or-treating activities are complete around 8:30 or 9:00 p.m. Which is why the invitation to participate in this UFO Day Dark Sky Event is scheduled for 9:30 p.m…so, let’s make a wish for clear skies; let the kids stay up a little late and ponder their own possibilities, perhaps with a little treat. It’s possible, they may even share.
For more information visit the Belleville Chamber of Commerce Website at http://www.belleville-wi.com or contact Becky, Village Chamber Liaison.