Heavily accented aged astronomers entranced us with almost poetic tales, while younger stargazers educated us with touch tablet details and tech savvy insights, and kids, who should have been in bed, bumped past us to climb ladders to look through the lenses. Just down the road from home, we caught the Southern Cross Astronomical Society's party where crowds were celebrating the relative new close proximity of earth to Mars. Every Saturday night at Bill Sadowski Park, weather permitting, star gazers set up their telescopes and invite the public to peer through them! It's free, (just off Cutler road). There was a good crowd of all ages. Tomorrow Mars will be the closest it has been in a while. At least a dozen high powered telescopes were trained on it, as well as Jupiter, Venus, distant nebula, and the moon. But Mars was the planet "star of the evening"- glowing orange in the night and evincing a slightly brighter visual bulge at the polar caps. Still almost 350 million miles away, Mars demanded our attention, but truthfully we got lost gazing at the moon.