Deborah Byrd to speak at Texas Star Party
EarthSky’s own Deborah Byrd will speak at the 2022 Texas Star Party, which runs from April 24 to May 1, 2022. Deborah’s speech will be livestreamed on the Texas Star Party’s Facebook page and on YouTube. Later, after the event, you can also catch a recording of the speech on YouTube (we’ll let you know the link tomorrow). Her talk is on Thursday, April 28, at 7:30 p.m. CDT. She’ll be talking about her long career, and about old and new astronomy.
Deborah Byrd and the Texas Star Party
Deborah was the original organizer of the Texas Star Party. She organized the first three, in 1979, 1980 and 1981. In the late 1970s and ’80s, Byrd worked for the University of Texas McDonald Observatory in West Texas. She made many visits to the observatory, from their home offices in Austin. While there, she spent the nights visiting the various telescope domes on Mount Locke, talking with astronomers about their research. And of course she looked at the night sky.
Later, inspired by these experiences, and by the inky dark skies of the Davis Mountains of West Texas, she decided to ask the Observatory for some nighttime viewing hours at the 30-inch telescope. She wanted groups of amateur astronomers to be able to visit the mountain at night.
Spearheaded by Byrd, the Texas Star Party launched in 1979. It became an event where amateur astronomers brought their own telescopes to the nearby Davis Mountains State Park. Indeed, they spent their nights under West Texas skies, gazing at the heavens. Subsequently, in 1982, the Texas Star Party moved to the Prude Guest Ranch near Fort Davis, Texas. Today, it’s still held annually in late April or in May near the time of new moon, attracting hundreds of attendees each year from North America and the world.
StarDate and EarthSky
In 1978, Deborah created the radio program StarDate. She produced the radio show with McDonald Observatory until 1991, when she left to create the radio program Earth & Sky, which aired nationally and internationally from 1991 to 2013. In 1994, the Earth & Sky radio program evolved into the website you see now, EarthSky.org.
Bottom line: Deborah Byrd, the founder and editor-in-chief of EarthSky.org, will be giving a talk at the Texas Star Party at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, April 28, 2022. It will be livestreamed at the TSP Facebook page and YouTube. It will also be available later on YouTube.