Stellarvue is more than a telescope company. We are dedicated to fostering a deep appreciation for the night sky by presenting educational programs and outings in remote locations where Stellarvue owners can see the stars as they should be seen. Attending one of our Stellartrips is a real benefit of ownership; no other telescope company does this. We also support the International Dark Sky Association (IDA) as they fight to save the night sky enabling more of us to enjoy the wonders of the universe first hand. Join the Stellarvue Mothership this year (pictured to the left) on one or more of the activities listed below.
STELLARTRIPS 2014 SCHEDULE OF EVENTS
JUNE 2014: STELLARVUE DARK SKY STAR PARTY (DSSP). This program has already taken place this year. Sign ups for next year's program will take place shortly. Watch for it as this program is limited to fifty people and usually books up within five minutes of the program announcement! DSSP gives Stellarvue owners the opportunity to observe under extremely dark skies during our five day four night event. We reserve the Likely Place RV Park during the most favorable new moon weekend of the year and cater the dinners. This facility has full hookups, an 18 hole golf course and a cafe so you can golf and/or camp without cooking! We also present numerous educational programs during the event. Attendance is limited to Stellarvue members who sign up in time! See some of the fun people had this year on our DSSP 2014 PAGE.
August 2, 2014: Lassen National Park - Dark Sky Festival
Join Vic Maris, IDA, scientists and rangers celebrating the night sky! Activities include nightly constellation tours and stargazing, Astronomy activities including guided hikes, solar scope viewing, discussions and demonstrations by National Park Dark Sky rangers, NASA, International Dark Sky Association, Astronomical Society of Nevada, and the Astronomical Society of the Pacific.
September 18-20: Great Basin National Park Annual Astronomy Festival.
This year Vic Maris is the Keynote Speaker at the Great Basin's Annual Astronomy Festival. His talk will take place on September 19th at the visitor center. But this entire weekend, the park will hold various astronomy related programs and rumor has it Galileo will even show up as he did at Great Basin back in 2012!
Great Basin National Park is a true Dark Sky site and it is one of the reasons that we have adopted this beautiful park as one of our favorite places to visit. Park staff includes three "Dark Rangers" who work tirelessly in interpreting the night sky and the importance of addressing light pollution. Lehman Caves and other features just make this park an even more special place to visit.
HISTORY OF STELLARTRIPS
Vic Maris began presenting astronomy related programs long before he founded Stellarvue. As a ranger and naturalist, his first star talk was held in 1974. Since that time he has played a strong role in space science education. He was the Park Superintendent who paved the way for the establishment of the Robert Ferguson Observatory in Sonoma County and he trained rangers in interpreting the night sky (including one of the Dark Rangers pictured above).
Since the mid 1990's Vic has presented his Majesty of the Night Sky class first in Sacramento and now in Auburn. This is a class we hold each year for newbies. It begins with a one hour classroom session at Stellarvue Headquarters in Auburn. During this program Galileo himself makes an appearance. Following the classroom session participants are given an orientation to using binoculars and telescopes. Then we head out to the observing site.
On the way to our site in the High Sierra, we all stop to have dinner at the Monte Vista Inn. After a great dinner and home made pie we continue to the observing site at 5200' elevation. Participants learn many of the constellations first and then probe deeper and deeper into the universe using Stellarvue telescopes.
We didn't stop with Majesty of the Night Sky. We continued to travel to remote locations that offered dark skies, inviting Stellarvue owners to join us. We started participating in "Gourmet Astronomy" at Joshua Tree National Park in the year 2000. While the volunteers who graciously and generously contributed to this program have since retired, many of the same observers continue to meet at Joshua Tree on new moon weekends in the Fall and Spring.
Two Stellartrips were held in Hawaii. We reserved rooms at the Waikaloa Hilton and every night we would venture up to Mauna Kea to observe at 9,900' elevation. These trips were memorable and we fully intend to hold more in the future. Watch this space!
As light pollution continued to increase at Joshua Tree National Park, we knew we had to find places where the light domes were less invasive. We next held a series of "Stellartrips" at a remote resort in the High Sierra. We would reserve the resort with lodge, cater meals and employ guest speakers who would provide education during the day. At night the Milky Way shone bright. As the Sacramento light dome continued to grow we knew we had to eventually find another location for our annual Dark Sky Star Party. Our goal was to locate one of the darkest skies in the United States with a facility that would support a sizeable group of Stellarvue telescope owners. We did.
Tony and Daphne Hallas stumbled upon the Likely RV Park located on the black spot on the map near the location of the Golden State Star Party. They took Vic and Jan there. Tony and Vic set up their lawn chairs and took in the pristine view of the summer Milky Way. Vic knew immediately he had found astronomical narvana.
Since that time Stellarvue holds its Annual Dark Sky Star Party (DSSP) at the Likely RV and Golf Resort. In return Likely Resort has set up powered observing pads in the field next to the campground. Every year Stellarvue reserves the best new moon weekend in the summer and fifty Stellarvue owners, the first who sign up, get to enjoy pristine dark skies.
In the past we have arranged for special opportunities for Stellarvue owners. In 2006 we were able to reserve the venerable 82" reflector for two moonless nights and 24 SV'ers got to enjoy incredible views of deep sky objects. Planetary nebulae had color; barred spirals looked like textbook pictures and Saturn was absolutely breathtaking. Such opportunities like this arise from time to time and when they do we announce them to our customers, first on our Allstars Newsletter and then on our website.
In addition to our annual Majesty and DSSP programs, Stellarvue continues to present several other opportunities each year using the "Stellarvue Mothership." Check in here specifically to see where we will be so you can join us under dark skies in remote locations.