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Posted on: November 5, 2020

Goldendale Observatory launches weekly virtual program

Viewers will learn about stars, planets, satellites and more via YouTube Live

OLYMPIA – Nov. 5, 2020 – Washington State Parks will offer free weekly virtual programs livestreamed from Goldendale Observatory State Park Heritage Site

Troy Carpenter, State Parks interpretive specialist, will present the one-hour #GoldendaleObservations programs at 7 p.m. on Sunday evenings, starting Nov. 15, via Washington State Parks’ YouTube channel

The upcoming schedule of programs:

Sunday, Nov. 15
Surrounded by robots: More than 60 years of satellites
State Parks’ first YouTube live show will be about the nearest space-objects to Earth. Discussion will include the history and future of artificial satellites, including current events and viewing opportunities.  

Sunday, Nov. 22
Lunar exploration via the Internet
Weather permitting, participants can observe Earth’s moon in high definition and learn about the history of human and robotic exploration of our nearest natural neighbor in the sky. The recent NASA moon announcement also will be covered.  

Sunday, Nov. 29
It’s very cold in space — or is it?  
With Autumn in full-swing and the temperatures dropping, this program will focus on the misunderstood concept of cosmic temperatures. It may not be as frigid up there as people think.  

Sunday, Dec. 6
The 3D universe 
The universe is not flat. Explore the nature of cosmic perspective as it pertains to the appearance of things. Learn about the true structure of constellations and other shapes in the sky.

The #GoldendaleObservations programs will be moderated, and participants are encouraged to post questions in the comments section of the YouTube Live video. Those who are unable to watch the videos in real time will be able to view them afterwards on the State Parks’ YouTube channel. 

About Troy Carpenter
Troy Carpenter has been an interpretive specialist at Goldendale Observatory since 2013, bringing his expertise in technology to help share the universe with thousands of visitors each year. Before coming to work for State Parks, Carpenter ran a training center in Philadelphia for three years, specializing in power generation and electrical safety. During that time, he also guest lectured on renewable energy economics, electrical theory, photography and astronomy at various colleges and universities. 

Goldendale Observatory gets major makeover
Goldendale Observatory sits on 5 hilltop acres, 2 miles north of the town of Goldendale and about 13 miles north of the Columbia River. The observatory houses one of the world’s largest publicly accessible permanently mounted telescopes. Earlier this year, work was completed on an extensive multi-year renovation of the observatory and grounds, including:

  • Converting the old Cassegrain telescope to a Newtonian telescope by replacing the original mirror with a new, state-of-the-art 24.5-inch mirror. 
  • A new building with a 140-person capacity auditorium.
  • New exhibits focused on planetary science. 
  • Special lighting in the interior and outdoor landscape to preserve dark-sky viewing.
  • Increased parking and restroom capacity.

Learn more about Goldendale Observatory State Park Heritage Site.

State Parks interpretive staff turn to virtual programming
With the onset of the COVID pandemic, Washington State Parks had to close most of its interpretive centers across the state. Still, State Parks interpretive staff have been busy developing virtual programming through the agency’s #AskaWaRanger series on Facebook Live and with partner organizations. In addition, the two original #GoldendaleObservations presentations were streamed on Facebook Live. Past presentations can be viewed here

News media contacts:
Anna Gill, Communications Office (360) 902-8562
Ryan Karlson, State Parks Interpretive Program Manager, (360) 902-8650


About Washington State Parks

The Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission manages more than 100 state parks and properties totaling approximately 120,000 acres. The Commission provides a variety of recreation opportunities for citizens and provides stewardship protection for a diverse array of natural, cultural and historic resources. State Parks’ statewide programs include long-distance trails, boating safety and winter recreation. 

News release number: 20-057

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