What secrets do the skies hold? What truths are not told to those who do not listen? Or in the case of stargazing, who does not gaze? At Estes Park, we learn these truths and aspire to know more; Stargazer, we invite you to, first of all, come for a vacation here in Estes Park and join our stargazing classes to learn all about stargazing and enjoy a better experience when you are engaging in this soul touching exercise. One obvious advantage we have here is that Estes Park is an elevated town and at the same time possesses mountains of incredible height that allow us a close-up view of the stars. A little read will be given on why Estes Park is the right place to look at the stars.
Why Estes Park?
– We respect nature; Estes Park has been blessed with many natural resources like the mountains, wildlife, water bodies, and many other things. We know how much of a treasure this privilege is and are conscious of its protection and preservation.
– We know, oh yes, we look up at the night sky too and see how beautiful it is. It awes us every day, and that is why we have Estes Park Memorial Observatory. So, when you come for your vacation, you will be meeting fellow Stargazers who are a part of the local community. What could be better than meeting someone who shares your interest and can show you the best places, instead of you having to find them by yourself?
– The mountains, Estes Park, sits at an elevation of 7,522 ft above sea level; on its own, it is already pretty high. Then it goes on to have a massive range of mountains such as Longs Peak, which is at over 14,000 ft. Not forgetting the fact that it has the Mummy Range, the Mummy Mountain, and remember, and it is the headquarters for Rocky Mountain National Park. So you can be outside your vacation rental at Estes Park, and you are already stargazing at a high altitude.
– We offer you the freedom to explore and privacy; you can literarily go exploring anywhere you want for free, except for some selected places where you may be required to pay a token before you can explore a particular area. And privacy, in that there are vacation homes so secluded it almost another trip to get there. Also, some trails and trailheads are lightly trafficked, if trafficked at all, you can go to, and it will just be you, the night, and the starry sky.
Stargazing is simply astronomy; if you are just getting started, it is merely us looking at the stars and trying to understand the law that governs them since it is evident that they operate by a different set of rules. Technology has come a long way with the invention of the telescope and some other equipment. Stargazers are now trying to understand the laws of the sky in terms of science and mathematics. And not just about cultural and civic practice. We have equipment that can read the physical characteristics of the stars and even planets, thereby helping us determine their origins.
Stargazing Classes In Estes Park
Stargazing opens up the imagination and causes you to think. All it takes to achieve this is merely looking up at night; you wonder about the universe, its planets, and moons. You think about its galaxies and the wonder of its stars. Astronomy is not a complicated matter to understand as long as you are willing to acquire knowledge about it. In Estes, classes on stargazing are combined with tours so that your expert guide can give lessons with efficient applications.
Estes Park Memorial Observatory
The Observatory is located at 1500 Manford Avenue, Estes Park; it is often referred to as the EPMO and serves as an educational venue for both the community and visiting stargazers. In addition, it provides programs one can be a part of in the year.
- Open House: EPMO open house nights are directed by volunteers who are part of the observatory workforce. They open the door for everyone, although they offer private and group viewing sessions depending on how you wish to enjoy the lessons. These lessons include tours of the Observatory, educational videos, and discussion on the night viewing, with demonstrations on the facility’s star wall. Telescopes are set up to accommodate everyone to view the night-selected outlook, which has been theorized earlier. The event organizers determine the open house viewing nights and often fall in June, July, and August.
Estes Valley Astronomical Society (EVAS)
The goal of EVAS in Estes Park is to encourage science and education.
- EVAS Astronomy Lecture: These lectures are held in classrooms and often headed by invited experts of astronomy, astrophotography, and cosmology, sometimes by members of EVAS. Talks are about recent space missions, general astronomy, and exceptional astronomical occurrences. EPMO, in collaboration with EVAS, also holds joint meetings each month that features a lecture on selected astronomy topic combined with a viewing session. For example, a discussion might initially be tossed around about a star currently visible in the night sky, after which the formal lecture for the evening kick starts.
Rocky Mountain National Park Astronomy Programs
Although well known for its mountains, rivers, fauna, and flora, the park is also a ground for watching the celestials and learning about them.
– Night Sky Landscape Photography: Rock Mountain Conversancy organizes this as a workshop for stargazers can observe the night sky and take photos with their cameras.
– Astronomy in the Park: At Rocky Mountain National Park, during June, July and August, there are weekly astronomy programs organized by the park administrators, which may be about thirty minutes. After which everyone is allowed to view.
– The Traditional Astronomy Program: This occurs at the Upper Beaver Meadows every week; there is a gathering at the trailhead parking area. To start, it is a 30-minute informational presentation by the local astronomers, park rangers, and park volunteers. After this informative session, the night sky observation begins.
– Stories behind the Moon and Stars: this program combines fun and learning in an hour and a half, takes place from June through to August. Stories are told, and activities are put together for everyone to enjoy themselves thoroughly fully. The program holds at the Moraine Park Visitor Center in the Rock Mountain National Park.
– Night Sky Festival: this involves three days of activities with contributions from astronomy enthusiasts, telescopes are available for public use, with talks organized by the park rangers. This festival occurs during the middle of July, so it is wise to begin preparations in late June or early July, three days of programs, sky gazing, and fun. The meeting ground is Upper Beaver Meadows Trailhead along the Front Range.
Stargazing Equipment you need in Estes Park
– Star Charts: it is very confusing if you decide to stare at the night sky without a guide of where to look or start from. By studying a star chart, which may be a little confusing at first, one can adequately enjoy stargazing.
– Telescope: stargazers use telescopes to assist them in viewing the sky by magnifying the outlook of dim and distant objects in the universe.
– Warm clothes: no matter the season, the temperature at a higher altitude is always colder than that of the average elevation, so it always better to be prepared.
– Water and more water: always drink enough water and have water with you on your way to the mountains.
– Flashlight: good light for movement and also help produce good photos
– Camera and Tripod: since you will be doing a bit of photography, a camera is a must-have and the tripod for balance.
– Snacks: be prepared; for anything, pack some snacks.
Where you can stargaze in Estes Park
Estes Park Memorial Observatory: located at 1500 Manford Avenue, is a stargazer’s paradise; it is a white dome sitting across Lake Estes.
Upper Beaver Meadows Trailhead: for you to know how wonderful this place is, it is the area for the Night Sky Festival; how cool is that?
Harbison Meadow Parking Area: with the assistance of a park ranger, you, armed with your telescope, will enjoy a night of stargazing, and you can meet up with other stargazers at Kawuneeche Visitor Center.
Trail Ridge Road: a lovely spot is Forest canyon overlook, which takes you over 12,000 feet above sea level, which is worth it, because on clear nights, the Milky Way is visible to the naked eye.
Bear Lake to Nymph Lake: starting from Bear Lake, this area because the lake allows a brilliant reflection of stars.
Brynwood on the River: these homes have patios perfect for stargazing every night. And they are on elevated grounds unobstructed by trees or mountains.
Stargazing enables us to understand our origins and how we have gotten to this point; knowledge of the stars has helped us affirm that there is more out there. For years people have been studying the stars, just by gazing at the sky and charting what they saw. Research on the surviving works done by these people showed that they were pretty accurate with their efforts. The predictions they made based on them; in navigation and calendar-making some thousands of years ago, were beneficial. It is evident that better and continuous exploration will open more doors since we are technologically advancing every day.