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STAR POWER Sure, you can point out the Big Dipper, but did you know that it is an "asterism," a well-known star pattern that is usually part of a constellation (in this case the constellation is Ursa Major)? If not, this month you can gain a little more knowledge about the universe at the various stargazing parties around the state. Every Tuesday, Friday, and Saturday nights at the University of Texas at Austin McDonald Observatory in Fort Davis , visitors can expect to see Venus, the only planet that is visible to the naked eye in July, and bright star clusters and galaxies (through high-powered telescopes, of course). Because this location is so remote, it is a stargazer's dream. If you can't make it that far west, though, try your luck July 6 at Lake Whitney State Park, where you will get a chance to view nebulae through the new telescopes donated by the Lake Whitney Astronomy Club. Or on July 13 stop by Fort Griffin State Park and Historic Site, where, after a slide slow, enthusiasts can see the moons of Jupiter through the dozen or so large telescopes provided by the Fort Worth Side Walk Astronomers. If you can identify the constellation Scorpius after one of these tutorials, you get a star. (See Elsewhere: Other Events and Points of Interest.)

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