"The weather turned out to be as good as it could be. Despite leaving Beaverton in the pouring rain, as soon as we approached Longview, the winds died down and the rain diminished to a light drizzle.
Happy Solstice and thank you Longview!
It was our muddiest event yet.
A few people wondered if we'd cancel due to the afternoon monsoons. Nope! Who's afraid of a little rain?
Our third annual Solstice Lantern Walk through the Solar System was on December 18, 2021.
The wind and rain eased off as the event started. We had awesome burritos and tacos from Planet Taco (Tacos and Tortas all the way from Centralia).
We brightened the longest night, celebrated the return of longer days, and met great people. Here are some highlights:
Our route followed the Solar System Walk given to the City of Longview by the Friends of Galileo Astronomy Club in 2001. The walk is a series of granite markers showing the relative distances between the Sun and the planets - it's our solar system, scaled down to Lake Sacajawea. The markers follow the path on the west side of Lake Sacajawea, over 1.64 miles.
Solar System Walk
We had passports for people to take to each planet and get stamped. Thank you to Pat and Michelle at Copies Today/Speedy Litho for donating the printing for our passports - a third time. They looked great!
The planets were lit up in a small way or in a big way. Kids got candy at several planets and people got to know some of the great clubs in our community.
* * * * * If you walked the whole Solar System (3.7 billion miles!), you saw:
The Sun - Friends of Galileo Astronomy Club started off the event with lanterns and passports and candy for the kids. FoG has monthly meetings, sidewalk astronomy, star parties, and our annual overnight event at Mount St. Helens.
Mercury - Santa and Mrs. Claus! It was a very busy time for them, of course, but they came to start off the walk with Christmas cheer.
Venus - The Girl Scouts of Western Washington came out a third time with a big, welcoming tent. They worked with the Boy Scouts to light up the path with luminaria... By the way, it'll be cookie season soon.
Earth - Three Rivers Christian School came out a second time to support the Solstice Lantern Walk. What a great turnout they had!
Mars - Shinju Dojo Aikido Martial Arts School was our very first planet sponsor in 2018! Learn self-defense and self-confidence in a friendly, low-impact, non-competitive atmosphere right here in Longview.
Jupiter - Longview Freemasons Lodge #263 - Our most generous donor. Thank you, Masons! Freemasons have been making good men better for centuries. Longview Lodge will celebrate its first century the year after Longview does. Find out more at their Thursday breakfasts (823 7th Ave, Longview, about 8:00 am).
Saturn - Kelso-Longview Elks, Lodge #1482. The Elks did a great job again. Did you see all the glowing Saturn models?
Planet Taco - Thank you, Tacos and Tortas of Centralia, for joining us with your food truck. Their burritos and tacos were great, and helped fortify people during their billion-mile walk.
Tacos and Tortas
Uranus - The Boy Scouts of America, Cascade Pacific Council didn't just have a good set up and interesting information about their planet ("12 Facts About Uranus!"), they added s'mores and a warming tent! Both were very welcome at that point in the walk.
This year, the Boy Scouts worked with the Girl Scouts to cover more of our route with glowing luminaria to mark the path. What a cheerful trail to follow. Wow!
Sacajawea - Amtgard, Shire of Mithril Hills, is a LARP, a live-action role playing group. Swords, shields, spells - come watch them practice or better yet, join in! They practice at noon on Sundays in Lexington Park.
Amtgard Mithril Hills
Neptune - Even with TWO astronomy clubs involved in this event, the Mount St. Helens Hiking Club was the only one to bring along a telescope - three years in a row.
Comet Swift-Tuttle - Columbia River Reader brightened up the outer solar system again. Thanks for supporting us with a great description in the CRR!
Pluto - Rose City Astronomers came all the way from Portland to set up at the far end of the solar system. Check out their calendar of events next time you're in Portland.
Space Shuttle - thank you Ray Zimmerman and the Afifi Shrine for helping our walkers get back to the start. We've already heard great feedback - much appreciated! The Shriners meet to have fun and to support Shriner Hospitals around the world.
Thank you also...
Thank you, Emiley Siters for loaning us canopies from Youth and Family Link again. You kept Santa dry!
Thank you, Joe Hotai, for permission to use your photos again (most of the photos above are his).
"Joe" Kazumi Hotai
* * * * * Which planet won the Out of This World Award?
Our team of judges, Comet Me Bro, made their decision. Tiegan and Lucy walked the whole route and judged each planet on these criteria:
The winner will be announced at FoG's next meeting (details below). The prize? An awesome custom-made, astronomy-themed wreath.
* * * * * Most of all, thank you everyone who came out for the event!
You got a chance to meet some of the terrific people here in Longview and to learn about local clubs.
Do you want another Solstice Lantern Walk in 2022?
Come to Friends of Galileo Astronomy Club and help make it happen:
Happy New Year!
Friends of Galileo Astronomy Club
Friends of Galileo
We are astronomy enthusiasts who love to learn and to share our wonder at the amazing sights right overhead.