Friday, July 19, 2019

Dark Skies Region Kicking-Off Sky Festival Stargazing Events

Adirondack sky courtesy Adirondack Sky CenterTupper Lake is set to hold stargazing events to raise funds and awareness about the planned opening of the new AstroScience Center in 2024, aimed at exposing the public to the night sky. With its location within the protected Adirondack Park, with low light pollution, typically low humidity, and a relatively high altitude, Tupper Lake provides ideal conditions for night sky viewing, some of the best east of the Mississippi.

An Adirondack Sky Festival is set for Sunday, July 21st. All are welcome to a community-wide celebration of the dark skies and stargazing at the first Adirondack Sky Festival. The day-long event is a mix of star and solar gazing at the current Adirondack Sky Center & Observatory (formerly the Adirondack Public Observatory) at 178 Big Wolf Road in Tupper Lake. Starting at 1 pm, participants can take advantage of the Roll Off Roof Observatory, games and crafts, a scavenger hunt, scientific demonstrations and solar gazing through specialized telescopes.

Experts will be on hand to talk about the stars and planets, and how to best see them, offering tips to the public. At least three lectures are planned: Al Nagler, a former optical designer at NASA known for designing lunar landing simulators and Tele Vue eyepieces for telescopes; Andy Andersen of the International Dark Sky Association discussing light pollution impacts on wildlife; and Gib Brown, former meteorologist at WPTZ and college professor, showing the Science on a Sphere. All of these events are taking place at The Wild Center.

At the Tupper Lake High School, Bruce McClure will lead planetarium shows in the StarLab. The Adirondack Sky Center’s own professional astronomers, Aileen O’Donoghue, Jeffrey Miller and Joshua Thomas, all trustees of the organization, will be leading demonstrations and addressing questions throughout the day.

Jeff Miller and David Fadden, Mohawk artist and storyteller from the Six Nations Museum in Onchiota, will also give a talk at the high school at 7:30 p..on Star Stories of the Haudenosaunee, Greek and Roman Traditions.

There will be plenty of celestial-themed music at the Tupper Lake Bandshell, with local band Night School, from 7:30 to 9:30 pm; and then stargazing at the observatory.

David Levy, internationally known comet hunter and co-discoverer of Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9, which impacted Jupiter in 1994, has just published his autobiography The Nightwatchman’s Journey: The Road not Taken, and will be discussing it and signing copies.

In October, the Adirondack Sky Center will host a four-day astrophotography conference, October 3 – 6. It will focus on astrophotography of all levels with workshops on capturing images with the aid of instructors and specialized telescopes. Spaces are limited. Contact the Sky Center office for more information. Members receive a discounted registration fee.

Local officials, university professors, and amateur astronomers have long recognized Tupper Lakes potential to become an astrotourism hub. Many have banded together to build on the current Adirondack Sky Center and create a state-of-the-art AstroScience center there, tentatively slated to open in 2024, during another eclipse.

The AstroScience Center museum, which organizers anticipate will open in five years, is the second building being planned for the Adirondack Sky Center campus. The Observatory was completed in 2013, and a third building housing a 24-inch reflecting research telescope will cap the project. The science center is expected to provide astronomy-related experiences for visitors, day or night, in clear or cloudy weather, including a planetarium, lecture hall, interactive classroom and much more.

A limited range of fun, hands-on educational activities are now offered year-round in the Sky Center Activity Room at the organization’s Office and Gift Shop, 36 High Street in Tupper Lake, and stargazing at the observatory.

More information is available on Adirondack Sky Center’s website.

Photo provided.

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