The Goldendale Observatory Interpretive Center is located on a hilltop North of Goldendale, Washington. It is a unique facility because it caters to the general public with programs designed to educate the novice as well as the experienced star gazer. They have a number of telescopes including a 24.5 inch that is used in the evenings for public viewing sessions. The facility is run by the Washington State Parks Department. Steve Stout serves as the facility supervisor and is a very knowledgeable amateur astronomer and friend of mine. He gives an interesting talk before each session and keeps the public updated on the latest happenings in the cosmos. Enjoy the Clear Sky Chart above and the weather link below. Keep in mind these are only predictions and weather conditions can change rapidly
Coming from the North. As you approach Goldendale, look for a sign that says Goldendale Observatory next right Take the first exit into Goldendale (Broadway). Go one mile to the four-way stop, turn right, go North 0.7 mile to a fork in the road. Take the right fork, stay on the paved road and continue 0.7 mile up hill to the Observatory parking lot.
Coming from the South. As you approach Goldendale look for a sign that says Goldendale Observatory next left. Take the last exit into Goldendale (Broadway). (Rest of directions same as those above).
Summer Evening Program April - September Wednesday through Sunday, 8PM - Midnight Admission fee is by donation
The Goldendale Observatory's Summer hours from April 1st to September 30th are Wednesday through Sunday. Sessions are held from 2:00 to 5:00 PM in the afternoon with solar viewing and telescope displays. There is also a library for in house study of astronomy. An evening session from 8:00 to Midnight gives visitors a chance to view celestial objects through the eyepiece of some of the observatory's telescopes, including the 24.5 inch Cassegrain.
The evening session starts at 8:00 PM and those arriving later will miss part of the interpretive program, which will not be repeated that evening. The interpretive program, along with the telescope viewing, is free to the public. You do not need to make a reservation to attend the public sessions at the observatory, but if you have a large group coming, (10 or more) it is best to call ahead and let Steve know about your group size, needs etc. Several large groups showing up on the same evening could overcrowd the facility. An overview of the evening program is given below.
8:00 PM - Doors open Welcome and Orientation History of Goldendale Observatory Introduction to Telescopes Prepare for Backyard Star Gazing Bright Star observation Moon and or Planet observation The Stars tonight Tour of the Constellations Nebula, star cluster, and galaxy observation Midnight - Gates close August at the Observatory By Stephen R. Stout, Interpretive Specialist at Goldendale Observatory
August Tour of the Universe
Goldendale, Washington - Spring/Summer hours are now in effect at the Observatory through the end of September. Visiting hours are 2-5 PM and 8 PM - Midnight, Wednesdays through Sundays.
For the month of August, telescope viewing under clear skies should reveal the Moon from the 6th to the 23rd (New Moon is on the 30th ) and the planet Jupiter. The constellations Capricornus, Aquila, Cygnus, Vulpecula, Sagitta and Delphinus will be identified and deep sky objects such as a binary star, nebula, star cluster and galaxy in the constellations will be viewed through the telescopes.
During "The Stars Tonight," portion of the program, current topics from Sky and Telescope Magazine, Astronomy Magazine, Night Sky Magazine, the Astronomical Calendar, "The Observer's Year" and "365 Starry Nights" will be presented.
The afternoon program which begins at 2:05 p.m. may include telescope views of the planet Venus, and live images of the face of the Sun.
Special programs at Goldendale Observatory
Starting Friday, August 15th 2008 and continuing each Friday evening at dusk through the rest of the summer, there will be a showing of an astronomy themed video in the outdoor amphitheater located on the east side of the Observatory grounds. Admission is free.
Call the Goldendale Observatory at (509)773-3141 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about any programs.
Current NASA missions
There will be plenty of activity on Mars and Saturn in the next few Months. I have put a link to the Mars and Saturn Mission websites at JPL, so you may look at all the pictures from the missions. I have also linked to the International Space Station website at NASA.
Phoenix Mission to Mars
Cassini-Huygens Mission to Saturn
International Space Station
Winter Evening Program October - March Friday - Sunday Admission fee is by donation
Winter visiting hours from Oct 1st to March 31st are Friday through Sunday from 2:00 to 5:00 PM and evenings from 7:00 to 10:00 PM. Contact the Observatory for more information. Plan on visiting this fine facility in the future and enjoy a family outing under the stars. Note: Read the Summer evening program above for more information about there interpretive programs. An overview of the evening program is given below.
7:00 PM - Doors open Welcome and Orientation History of Goldendale Observatory Introduction to Telescopes Prepare for Backyard Star Gazing Moon and or planet observation The Stars tonight Tour of the Constellations Nebula, star cluster, and galaxy observation 10:00 PM - Gates close
Volunteer Opportunities at GOSP
In order for the Observatory to continue to grow and improve its facility it must rely on volunteer help. This volunteer help is needed in any of the following areas:
Greeter - Usher - Program Presenter - Telescope Operator - Tour Guide Set Up - Clean Up - Special Repair Projects - Interpretive Projects Answer Telephone - Office Work - Landscaping - Computer Projects Adopt a Scope - Other (describe).
If you would like to volunteer some time or possibly have equipment you would like to donate to the Observatory, contact Steve Stout at the address or telephone number below. The Observatory maintains a wish list of equipment they need and have a donation box to help save money to buy equipment on this list. In addition, the Goldendale Observatory is now on line and has its own e-mail address. The Goldendale Observatory State Park is your public gateway to the stars - Enjoy!
Friends of the Goldendale Observatory
There is an active group of support people for the observatory. They are called Friends of the Goldendale Observatory. Follow the link to their web site and learn how you can help support the Goldendale Observatory. I have included the Observatory mailing address and contact information below if you need to plan ahead for a trip. Goldendale Observatory State Park 1602 Observatory Drive Goldendale, WA 98620
Telephone (509) 773-3141 Fax (509) 773-6929 E-mail email@example.com