CRIA offers two different Night Sky Archaeoastronomy Programs; Stars & Galaxies and Our Solar System. For both programs, your evening begins with an interactive discussion at the Visitor Cabin. Topics will include how the ancient people who periodically inhabited the site lived, how they used the unique landscape of the Chimney Rock area to view the sky and what special astronomical events they might have seen. We will also talk about the current night sky and what planets and other objects we hope to see. As sunset approaches, we’ll drive to the High Mesa parking lot where volunteer astronomers await with telescopes to provide a closer look at the wonders of the night sky. While we wait for our eyesight to adjust to the growing darkness, a short talk will explain how telescopes help us to better view night-sky objects and how the different types of telescopes work. Telescopes will focus on different features and the volunteers will change that focus periodically during the viewing time. Even if several telescopes happen to be pointed at the same object, the view will likely be different because of variations in telescope design, eyepieces, aperture, and magnification. What do you notice? Viewing is scheduled to continue until about one hour after maximum darkness or the last guest leaves, whichever is later. Guests may depart from the viewing area whenever they choose.
Remember that at this altitude the nights begin to cool rapidly after sunset, so an appropriate jacket or sweater will enable you to keep comfortable while you enjoy the majesty of the night sky at Chimney Rock. These programs are perfect for young families and those with limited mobility. Visitors traveling with their own telescope are encouraged to bring it to the program and share it with others. Reservations strongly recommended. Limited space. Walk-ins on a first-come, first-serve basis. Tickets are $12.00 (adults) and $5.00 (children 5-12) plus booking fee, and are non-refundable. In the event of cancellation due to inclement weather, rain checks will be available. For details, please call the Visitor Cabin (970-883-5359) 9:00 – 4:30 Mountain Time.