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Winter stargazing from the Adirondack Sky Center

Exploring the winter sky at the Adirondack Sky Center and Observatory in Tupper Lake. (Provided photo — Diane Chase)

Living in the Adirondacks and being able to look at a darkened sky filled with glimmers of planets and stars is something I never take for granted. I admit my view of the sky is more mystical than practical, though I can identify some common constellations. My family makes time for a full moon ski or hike where we can explore the woods illuminated with just the evening sky. Though the science of Astronomy is not the main focus of our interest, we always find reassurance in the continuity of the stars and enjoy learning more about the Adirondack sky.

For people wishing to increase their own knowledge of stargazing and constellations, Tupper Lake’s Adirondack Sky Center and Observatory is an incredible resource. The winter schedule for Stargazing at the Roll Off Roof Observatory (RORO) at the Adirondack Sky Center takes place the first and third Fridays of the winter months and continues through Memorial Day. The free program starts about 30 minutes before sunset at their 178 Big Wolf Rd. facility.

The roll-top roof does just what you would think. It opens the building up to the elements so dress accordingly. (The mechanism moves the roof from the telescope area to rest over an attached gazebo.) The building is illuminated with red lights to minimize light pollution. There is a bathroom and warming area if the outside temperature isn’t agreeable.

Every time I attend one of the free Public Observation Days I learn something about the sky, whether it is a Greek myth or the distance of an exploding star. The organization’s powerful telescopes are set up and monitored by the staff so that everyone attending can learn more about the surrounding stars.

For more programs, additional times and schedule of events please go to www.AdirondackSkyCenter.org or visit the Adirondack Sky Center office and gift shop at 36 High Street, Tupper Lake. The Sky Center free newsletter or Facebook page are good resources about fun facts and weather updates. Keep in mind that stargazing is weather dependent. Enjoy the stars!

Diane Chase is the author of the Adirondack Family ActivitiesTM guidebook series. For more family-friendly activities go to www.AdirondackFamilyTime.com.