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Press Releases

  These are our press releases so far this year.

   For More Information Please Contact:

   Astronomers of Verde Valley

   PO Box 714 Cottonwood, AZ  86326




If you are aware of  item of news or an event that relates to astronomy in the Verde Valley, please send us an e-mail with the relevant details.


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March 26th, 2015:


The Astronomers of Verde Valley attended the Sci Tech Festival at Camp Verde High school showcasing views of the Sun thru specially designed solar telescopes. Also, the planet Venus could be seen thru another telescope. Over 700 kids and teachers viewed the huge solar flares and large Sun spots.





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November 25th, 2013:

The National Park Service for the Tuzigoot-Montezuma Well-Montezuma Castle Monuments held their volunteer appreciation luncheon on Nov 25th, 2013. Among other awards for individuals efforts at the Monuments, the Astronomers of Verde Valley received a 5 year volunteer award for their programs at Tuzigoot National Monument. Every spring, a star gazing program is given by the Astronomers for the residents and visitors to the Monument.




Image:  Red Rock State Park




November 9th, 2013:

Written by Corwin Gibson
October 31st, 2013

For those who have been meaning to get out to Red Rock State Park for their star partiesnighttime viewings and astronomy presentations — the last chance for the season is coming on Saturday, Nov. 9, at 7:15 p.m.

Halley Bagley, ranger specialist with the park, said that the whole series has been in collaboration with the Astronomers of the Verde Valley, who volunteer their time, knowledge and resources — chiefly their telescopes — as a program that started in the spring, and now also includes participation from Keep Sedona Beautiful as part of their efforts to have Sedona classified as an official Dark Sky Community.

“Keep Sedona Beautiful is excited to be a partner in sponsoring this fun and interesting star party.  Once you look through one of the telescopes you may want to make astronomy your new hobby,” Joanne Kendrick of KSB said. “Come and enjoy the beauty of our Sedona night sky!”


For the full story, see the Friday, Nov. 1, edition of the Sedona Red Rock News.







Image: J D Maddy


November 6th, 2012:

The continued effort of the Astronomers of Verde Valley working with the Arizona State Parks has earned the club recognition as the 2012 Team of the Year. The AZ Parks Team of Richard Bohner, John & Terry Wozniak, Dennis Casper, Doug Ostroski and J D & Karen Maddy were mentioned at a recent awards luncheon in Flagstaff, AZ.

Image: J D Maddy

Photo: Tye Farrell




November 6th, 2010: The Astronomers of Verde Valley hosted the 4th Annual Night Under the Stars at Alamo Lake State Park. With the clouds hampering solar viewing Saturday afternoon, the astronomers exhibited pictures and passed out posters and information from the Night Sky Network. The night began at dusk with a presentation on telescope etiquette and a slide show of astronomy images. The viewers grew to over 100 as the evening progressed. The daytime clouds parted and left the skies dark and clear.  Many of the group were able to combine telescope viewing and aerobics by viewing through Dennis Casper's "Ladder Master", an 18 inch telescope that required the use of a 10 ladder to view through. The Northern Arizona University Astronomy Club came out also with four students and two of their clubs telescopes. Many of the group were returning viewers that had been to past events at the Lake.


Photo: J D Maddy

Photo: Bob Casavant


September 11th, 2010: Local  members of the Astronomers of Verde Valley attended the 2nd Kartchner Caverns Star Night event. Over 200 were in attendance to gaze through the many telescopes set up in the parking area. Several others from the Huachuca Astronomy Club and from Tucson set up their scopes as Bob Gent, RIM Research Associate for the State Parks (also past IDA and Astronomical League President) started off the program with introductions and such. J D Maddy took over and enlightened the crowd on what to expect to see and not see as the evening progressed. Also, JD interjected telescope etiquette and how to use each telescope to their benefit. "I’m glad I spoke about averted vision, as many of the viewers used it to see some of the fainter objects we observed". As the crowd grew to now about 200, they approached the 8 or so scopes and the serious viewing began. We encountered people from Tucson, Sierra Vista, Phoenix, Chandler and even from Germany, the UK and Africa. As the sky darkened, the Milky Way cut a path across the sky with uncountable stars and objects showing up. ET, also known as the Owl Cluster was popular with the younger crowd. Faint galaxies were also seen, as well as globular clusters, open clusters, and nebula at the center of our own galaxy.






Astronomers and Bikers Unite

August 10, 2010: The Bike and Build riders visited Cottonwood this week. This is a group of college students that are biking across America to bring to light sub standard housing. The Astronomers of Verde Valley entertained the group on Monday with a star party under the dark skies of the Verde Valley. As the clock ticked towards 5PM, the Club’s Solar Telescope was set up and many of the kids enjoyed the views of a really nice loop flare and also two candle wick flares. A large sunspot was right in the center of the Sun. As they began to prepare for dinner, a slide show was started with our Club's astro photos in the dinning area of the Verde Valley Christian Church. VVCC sponsored sleeping quarters for their stay. After dinner, the fun began. The Star Party started. Venus was glowing brightly in the West with Saturn and Mars nearby in a nice conjunction. Many were amazed at the “half” Venus. It is only 50% illuminated right now. As the skies darkened, Saturn’s Moons started to show. Titan, of course, was the first to be seen. Other scopes started showing deep sky objects like M57: the Ring Nebula, M22: Globular Cluster, Double Stars and much more. Even the Whale Galaxy (NGC4631) made an appearance. The steady stream of the 32 riders didn’t ease until after 10PM. Doug O started counting the ooohs and aaahs and wows at first, but, soon lost count. They were just too numerous. As the skies really darkened, galaxies and faint nebula and even the Veil Nebula showed up in Jim S’s big 17 incher. As the evening wound down, more “one on one” time was spent with those that stayed around looking and listening to the explanations about what they were seeing. Several had just completed college courses on astronomy, but, they said it was nothing like seeing the “real thing”. Some even brought their sleeping gear out and were going to sleep out under the stars after we left. And, of course, the crew was treated to a -6 Iridium Flare that lasted about 30 seconds below Polaris! Many pre-cursors to the Perseids Meteor Shower peaking later this week entertained those looking up. Even a bolide made a quick appearance. For more information on Bike and Build, go to their website at

- J D Maddy 

Astronomers of Verde Valley wait for darkness to fall.

Ken Zoll gives a presentation on archaeoastronomy.


June 10th, 2010:  The Astronomers of Verde Valley in conjunction with the Festival of Native American Culture, sponsored the 2nd Annual Tuzigoot Star Gaze at the Tuzigoot National Monument. A crowd of just over 100 descended upon Tuzigoot National Monument to listen to Ken Zoll talk about archaeoastronomy, listen to David Wolfs Robe and his soothing flute music and gaze through the telescopes of the Astronomers of Verde Valley.

As darkness set in, the clouds that had been overhead dissipated. A glowing Venus was over the head of Ken Zoll as he spoke about the Native American use of the Sun and Stars in their everyday lives. As the Star Party began, David Wolfs Robe began to play his flute with a slide show of the Clubs astronomy pictures playing across from him.

For this years event, the Park Rangers illuminated the Ruins with red lanterns, giving an unique view of them. 




- J D Maddy


Dirty Verde Roller Derby Girls

Image:  Nancy Snyder


Astronomers Hit the River Front Skate Rink

May 15, 2010: It could have been the matchup of the decade. The Astronomers of Verde Valley vs the Dirty Verde Roller Derby girls. But, it wasn't to happen. Instead, the astronomers lined up their scopes on the hockey rink and showed off some of the spring sky wonders. Venus was glowing brightly in the west after sunset near a wondrous looking 2 day old crescent Moon. Soon after, looks at Saturn and Mars wowed the crowd. Two special treats were in store for the sky watchers also. The International Space Station made a brilliant pass over the Rink and the Space Shuttle Atlantis came by later as it chased the ISS for docking. Then, after a bit, Iridium satellite #40 made a bright flash just below the constellation Hercules. Other stellar sites like M13, M92, NGC2403, Omega Centari, Sombrero Galaxy, the Leo Triplet of Galaxies, M100, The Ring Nebula and M106 captured the attention of the avid sky watchers.  A large screen in the background played a slide show of pictures taken by club members.

- J D Maddy 

This young student takes a look at the Moon before sunset.

Image: Karen Maddy


Astronomers Invade Cottonwood School

April 19, 2010: St. Joseph's Grade School was the scene of whirring telescopes and oohs and aahs as the students and adults peered through the many optical instruments gathered on the play ground of the campus. Although the skies were covered with clouds during the day, the evening opened up for a clear cool night. Even before dark, the scopes were trained on the planets Venus, Saturn and Mars as well as our local neighbor, the Moon. Also, two of the moons of Saturn were visible and the shadow of the ring system circling Saturn could be seen cutting a dark line across the planet. As darkness fell, stars like Sirius, Arcturus and Betelgeuse lit up the sky. An Iridium satellite brightened slightly as it passed overhead, near Saturn. As the evening progressed, some 50 students, Moms, Dads, Teachers and even Grandparents gazed at clusters, nebula and even distant galaxies 60 million light years away. The Astronomers were kept so busy, they missed out on the Smores being made not far away!

- J D Maddy 

This is an image of the Crab Nebula, Charles Messier's first cataloged object, M1. It is actually not a nebula, but a structure left over from a star that exploded as a supernova in the year 1054 AD.

Image: Dick Haugen


The Posse Ground Park Star Party

April 08, 2010: Sedona residents and visitors from around the world gathered at the Park Thursday night for viewing the universe through telescopes belonging to the Astronomers of Verde Valley. A previous presentation and star party was cloudy out and this was the date for the make up star party. Everyone walked away with a smile after viewing Venus, Mercury, Mars and Saturn in the evening sky. Other objects like the Messier Catalog, clusters, globulars, super nova remnants and nebula were on the list of items seen by the crowd.

- J D Maddy 



This is an image of the Orion Nebula, also known as M42. This was taken at Alamo Lake State Park as eager amateurs astro photographers looked on. This is a stack of 5 images from 2 seconds to 10 seconds. Canon 450D DSLR on a GPS11 Hyperstar 3.

Image: JD Maddy



   3rd Annual Night Under The Stars: November 14, 2009       (International Year of Astronomy)

The 3rd Annual event celebrated the International Year of Astronomy (IYA); it's been 400 years since Galileo first used his homemade telescope to discover never before seen celestial objects (including the Galilean moons)! Since the closest town is nearly 40 miles away the star-gazing was spectacular! It was great to see so many familiar faces return for this event.

A 150 people viewed planets, moons, nebulas, and more under a perfectly clear, dark sky. There were 13 telescopes brought by dedicated groups and individuals from around Arizona. There was 1 solar telescope and 3 solar filters used to view the sun before sunset (getting to see solar flares). Some of the celestial objects viewed included: Jupiter and 4 of its moons, Venus, Mars, the Ring Nebula, M13, M22, Dumbbell Nebula, NGC 457, the Pleiades star cluster, the Double Star, the Andromeda galaxy, and the stars Polaris, Vega, and Altair.

Check out the photos from the evening below; no photographs are taken after sunset to protect everyone's night vision. We are excited about hosting another event in 2010.


This is an image of Jupiter and its four Galilean moons,  photographed
by Voyager 1. They are not to scale, but in their correct positions. 

Image: Courtesy of NASA



Clarkdale Haunted by Astronomers

AVV gets out the 'scopes for Clarkdale

April 11th, 2003 -- High thin clouds and wide-spreading vapor trails did not keep the Astronomers of Verde Valley from sharing the dark skies of downtown Clarkdale with the local residents. Ten member telescopes and three local resident-owned scopes were on hand to view the heavens from the Clarkdale Town Square. Nearly 60 people came by to look through the variety of telescopes on hand ranging in size from 4 inch to 28 inch. Four computer-guided scopes were also there. The planet Jupiter was the featured object with its Galilean moons flanking its sides. The clouds present barely dimmed Jupiter's bright reflection from our own sun. The cloud belts of the planet were easily seen from our earth-bound telescopes. A special treat for the public (and club members) was the transit of one of Jupiter's moons across the face of the planet. The tiny dot moved slowly across the face of Jupiter paralleling one of the cloud belts. Other objects that were seen included Jupiter's sister planet, Saturn, the always beautiful Orion Nebula and several Messier star clusters. 

-  J. D. Maddy


Members setting up for the star party at 6:30PM. JD poses in silhouette.
Other members are not so camera-conscious. 

Photo: Radha Venkat




AVV hosts public star party at Riverfront Park Skating Rink

March 8, 2003 -- The Astronomers of Verde Valley conducted a star party for the public on Saturday, March 8, commencing at 7:00 PM. The theme of the star party was "Observing Saturn". Indeed, Saturn was a spectacular sight high in the sky, its rings displayed in all their glory. Jupiter was a splendid sight, too, with its four Galilean moons arrayed in a line on one side of the planet. The crescent moon provided another compelling target for our visitors. The site was not dark enough for many of the fainter deep sky objects to be revealed in all their splendor, but some of the brighter ones attracted attention. 

According to the official count recorded by Karen Maddy, there were sixteen member telescopes and over 135 public attendees. 

-  P. C. Gadfly



Construction of Club Telescope

First Session of the Construction Crew

March 11, 2003 -- The scheduled date for the first session of the AVV telescope construction crew is Saturday, March 15, at 6:00PM. The location for this first session is the conference room at the Verde Valley Medical Center. For more details, members should contact chief of the telescope design bureau, Field Marshal William E. Kelley.

-  P. C. Gadfly



AstroVerde Is Voted into Existence

AVV members discover path of least resistance

February 15, 2003 -- In a striking example of going with the flow, the attendees at the February 15, 2003 meeting of the AVV authorized by a voice vote a proposal to set up a group message site on Yahoo! Groups under the name of Astroverde. The member who proposed this idea, the club Gadfly, was given license to "set everybody up" on this system. In the best traditions of groupthink, a time frame was not specified. This means anything (or nothing) can happen at any time. Amazingly enough, the group messaging site has been set up and is currently operational at the web address: http// When members will actually use the group messaging site for communication purposes, is anybody's guess.

An indirect consequence of the group messaging effort is the present website, which is the club's public presence. It was accomplished by totally stealthy means by a committee of one.  

-  P. C. Gadfly

Webmaster update: Currently the yahoo group is no longer being used as the Club has set up its own email server communicating with the world. (2010)




Media Coverage

     Here is some recent media coverage of our activities.  

      For More Information Please Contact:

     Astronomers of Verde Valley

     PO Box 714 Cottonwood, AZ  86326

     928 649 0485




If you come across any press items that relate to AVV that we have somehow missed, please  send us an e-mail with the details.




Red Rock News

AVV Hosts Saturn Star Party

March 18, 2003  

Scopes replaced skates on a crystal clear Saturday night March 8 at the Riverfront Park skating rink in Cottonwood. Astronomers of Verde Valley members set up 16 telescopes of different sizes and types for a public star party featuring our planet neighbor Saturn. The nice weather brought out over 135 spectators of all ages to look at the cosmos, and everyone enjoyed going from scope to scope to observe different celestial objects.

As expected, Saturn's prominent rings proved to be many people's favorite. However, the craters and mountains of the Moon were also very popular. Of course Jupiter was not to be outdone, showing off its pretty bands and moons of its own. There were also several telescopes aimed at objects far outside our own solar system such as nebulae, star clusters and even other galaxies. 

The Astronomers of Verde Valley is an active club that welcomes anyone interested in amateur astronomy, whether experienced or not. You need not even own a telescope to join. Meetings are held one Saturday a month at 7pm in the conference room of the Verde Valley Medical Center in Cottonwood. The next three meetings in 2003 are April 19, May 17 and June 21.


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