Guest Post by: R. Pines
Writing about our stargazing experiences was one of the hardest tasks to do. For me and many of our group we found it to be the biggest surprise and the best part of our trip – which is saying a lot. The scenery and wildlife we saw were incredible, but the sky and universe that was revealed to us that night by our wonderful guide Dr. Sam was …… indescribable. We have traveled to many parts of the world, from the Swiss Alps to Alaska and beyond. We thought we knew what a clear beautiful sky looks like, but this was in another league. He picked us up in a van that hauled his huge telescope and all the paraphernalia he brought along for us. From Teton Village it didn’t take long for us to get to the spot he has where we set up. We all got chairs and ipads with the StarWalk app which kept us busy while he set up the telescope. I didn’t expect the children to be able to understand the amount they did. They were the first to find the scorpion in the sky for the Jewish month of Av. They were engrossed in finding planets, and satellites and all types of stars. The reason this location is so spectacular and was selected for this program is;
1.The high elevation in Jackson Hole means that you’re looking through much less atmosphere. That makes the night sky that much clearer!
2. The low humidity and predictable weather in Jackson Hole, especially in the summer, means that we have lots of clear night skies. There is little or no humidity in the air.
3. Jackson Hole, the valley where the town of Jackson resides, is mostly protected, undeveloped public land. That means there is relatively little light pollution, allowing you to see thousands of stars on moonless nights.
When we looked up at the sky, we could imagine what a planetarium tries to look like. We felt the roundness of the earth, we saw millions of stars and the Milky Way so clearly with our naked eyes. We learned how to find the dippers and the North star. We saw many shooting stars. We learned the difference between a satellite and a star, a planet and a star. Dr. Sam explained so many things to us and then after each one we had a turn to see for ourselves in the telescope. We saw a ring Nebula, Hercules Globular Cluster, Andromeda Galaxy, Vega and Antares. We also saw Saturn with the ring around it. Dr. Sam took pictures of us, we couldn’t do it with our own cameras because it was reeeaaallly dark. My children and grandchildren now walk at home and even though the sky is not so dark they can point out Jupiter and Saturn, satellites. He has programs online where you can learn so much, especially now that virtual learning has become the norm. https://www.wyomingstargazing.org/calender
This was an incredible once-in-a-lifetime experience that won’t easily be forgotten.
Posted: January 7, 2021
Information, prices and hours posted here are current as of the posted or updated date. It is advisable to call ahead or check online to confirm hours and prices.
Pick up in central locations or at your hotel
Tours with Dr. Sam are $750 for up to 3 people $250/person for 4-13 people.
You can also book a group tour but will not necessarily have Dr. Sam $500 for up to 2 people
$175/person for 3-13 people. No charge for children age 6 and under.