Washington's Goldendale Observatory Begins Virtual Space Programs

Washington's Goldendale Observatory Begins Virtual Space Programs

Published 11/09/2020 at 4:56 AM PDT

Washington's Goldendale Observatory Begins Virtual Space Programs

(Goldendale, Washington) – With all telescope observatories in the Pacific Northwest closed due to the pandemic, many in Washington and Oregon are jonezin’ for a bit of closeup space exploration. Luckily, Washington’s Goldendale Observatory is hosting a series of online / virtual programs each week that take you beyond the Earth’s bounds.

Washington State Parks will offer free weekly virtual programs livestreamed from Goldendale Observatory State Park Heritage Site.

Troy Carpenter, State Parks interpretive specialist, will present the one-hour #GoldendaleObservations programs at 7 p.m. on Sunday evenings, starting November 15, via Washington State Parks’ YouTube channel.

The upcoming schedule of programs:

Sunday, November 15
Surrounded by robots: More than 60 years of satellites

State Parks’ first YouTube live show will be about the nearest space-objects to Earth. Discussion will include the history and future of artificial satellites, including current events and viewing opportunities.

Sunday, November 22
Lunar exploration via the Internet

Weather permitting, participants can observe Earth’s moon in high definition and learn about the history of human and robotic exploration of our nearest natural neighbor in the sky. The recent NASA moon announcement also will be covered.

Sunday, Nov. 29
It’s very cold in space — or is it?

With Autumn in full-swing and the temperatures dropping, this program will focus on the misunderstood concept of cosmic temperatures. It may not be as frigid up there as people might think.

Sunday, Dec. 6
The 3D universe

The universe is not flat. Explore the nature of cosmic perspective as it pertains to the appearance of things. Learn about the true structure of constellations and other shapes in the sky.

The #GoldendaleObsertvations programs will be moderated, and participants are encouraged to post questions in the comments section of the YouTube Live video. Those who are unable to watch the videos in real time will be able to view them afterwards on the State Parks’ YouTube channel.

Since 2013, Troy Carpenter has been an interpretive specialist at Goldendale Observatory, bringing his expertise in technology to help share the universe with thousands of visitors each year. Before coming to work for State Parks, Carpenter ran a training center in Philadelphia for three years, specializing in power generation and electrical safety. During that time, he also guest lectured on renewable energy economics, electrical theory, photography and astronomy at various colleges and universities.

Goldendale Observatory gets major makeover

About two hours from Portland, Oregon, the Goldendale Observatory is a magnificent sight of southern Washington. It sits on five hilltop acres, two miles north of the town of Goldendale and about 13 miles north of the Columbia River. The observatory houses one of the world’s largest publicly accessible permanently mounted telescopes. Earlier this year, work was completed on an extensive multi-year renovation of the observatory and grounds, including:

  • Converting the old Cassegrain telescope to a Newtonian telescope by replacing the original mirror with a new, state-of-the-art 24.5-inch mirror.
  • A new building with a 140-person capacity auditorium.
  • New exhibits focused on planetary science.
  • Special lighting in the interior and outdoor landscape to preserve dark-sky viewing.
  • Increased parking and restroom capacity.

Learn more about Goldendale Observatory State Park Heritage Site.

With the onset of the COVID pandemic, Washington State Parks had to close most of its interpretive centers across the state. Still, State Parks interpretive staff have been busy developing virtual programming through the agency’s #AskaWaRanger series on Facebook Live and with partner organizations. In addition, the two original #GoldendaleObservations presentations were streamed on Facebook Live. Past presentations can be viewed here.


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