Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Searching for the Stars at UpYonda Farm

starlabMy kids are always searching the sky for various constellations. We are so fortunate to have a dark evening sky so readily available to us. Though the Adirondacks may have less ambient light, the January 23rd full moon will make observing familiar constellations a bit more difficult. Don’t worry. The staff at UpYonda Farm in Bolton Landing is using their indoor StarLab to bring the night sky to us.

According to Naturalist Peter Olesheski the portable planetarium is not a new activity for UpYonda Farm. The StarLab unit was purchased with the Glens Falls Pubic School through a grant and is shared throughout the year.

“The inflated, indoor StarLab is about 6’ in diameter and 11’ tall,” says Oleshesk. “There is a tunnel on the side of the dome and in the center is a special projection with film canisters that let us show the stars just like they would appear to the nighttime sky.”

According to Olesheski the one-hour program introduces participants to the star fields and help with identifying common constellations such as Polaris and the Little and Big Dippers. Once people have adjusted to the projections he starts to cover other
constellations found in the winter sky.

“Through the program we are able to bring in the Greek constellations and discuss mythology and do some storytelling.” says Olesheski. “Every culture has been fascinated with the nighttime sky. Native Americans sat right here at UpYonda Farm and looked at the same sky. We compare these different cultures and try to connect the dots. Once people have been in the StarLab for an hour, I hope they will go outside later and look at the real sky. It’s a fun program.”

The January 23rd program runs from 1-2 pm and is $4 per person. Parking is an additional $4 per car with full use of the nearby 2.5-mile trail network.Enjoy!


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Diane Chase is the author of the Adirondack Family Activities guidebook series, Adirondack Family Time. She writes about ways to foster imaginative play through fun-filled events and activities in the Adirondack region.

From her home in Saranac Lake, Diane also writes a weekly family-oriented newspaper column for the Adirondack Daily Enterprise and keeps her own blog Adirondack Family Time. Her writing and photography has appeared in numerous newspapers, magazines, marketing companies and advertising agencies.

She even finds time to assist her husband with Adirondack Expeditions guiding families and young adults in the High Peaks.

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