July 27 Star Party at Muleshoe

A fun afternoon and night out at the refuge with friends at a public star party and photo expedition. The clouds didn’t cooperate, but we stayed late and had a blast anyway

I arrived in late afternoon and caught this shot of windmills dotting the plains:

We had a nice group of people go on a nature walk with Tishia, a Texas Master Naturalist:

The lakes were full, providing gorgeous views and lots of birds to watch:

Despite the weather reports, clouds moved in giving us a pretty sunset, but poor observing:

For the first few hours, we chased sucker holes to view bright objects or waited for another hole to open.  Some packed up as the sky became overcast, but others waited for moonrise to do some night landscapes.  Its first appearance through the clouds was spooky:

A little later, the Moon lit up the landscape and clouds while reflecting off the lake:

A number of us then went on a night walk along the road seeking critters and found a black widow spider and several other interesting insects

And we found a walking stick in the parking lot:

As we walked down the road, I took some night landscapes over the prairie dog town.  The first caught a pretty corona (a colorful ring around a bright object caused by ice in the upper atmosphere) around the Moon:

This shot looks over prairie dog town and shows the extent of the  cloud cover:

Another shot of the moonlit landscape with a small bush:

Late in the night, we wrapped up as we watched a distant thunderstorm light up the clouds:

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