Welcome to the Estes Park Memorial Observatory
Events & Scheduling Calendar
Check out our calendar of upcoming events below and also information on visiting the Observatory.
Look out for these recurring astro events at EPMO and in the Estes Park area.
Click to read more about these events:
– Open House at EPMO –
– Rocky Mountain National Park Astronomy Programs –
– EPMO and EVAS Monthly Meeting –
ESTES PARK OBSERVATORY EVENT CALENDAR
The total group size (the sum of all the numbers in the parentheses for the date) needs to be limited to 12 people because of the Covid separation requirements and the limitations on the number of people that can fit in the dome.
More Info about Private Viewing Sessions at EPMO
The EPMO is available for private viewing sessions (individuals or small groups up to 20). We prefer scheduling such sessions from the form above but many times we have last minute openings. Please call 970-586-5668 to see if you need information about an opening on short notice. The observatory is funded by donations and staffed by unpaid volunteers; contributions for private viewing sessions are greatly appreciated and help keep our doors open. Please allow up to one week for us to get back to you with a confirmation as we coordinate with our staff.
Observatory Open House Nights
Due to the current Corona Virus Pandemic, the Open House Nights have been suspended until next year. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused you.
The observatory open house nights are conducted by volunteers of the EPMO and are free to all . The evening starts with a tour of the facility and an introduction to the night’s viewing with a demonstration of the observatory star wall. We discuss objects that we will later view with the telescope and point out their locations on our star wall. Depending on the number of visitors, we may also set up telescopes outside the observatory to supplement the main telescope in the dome. Of course the viewing is dependent on the night sky and if it is unfavorable we can show educational videos in our warm room.
The Open Viewing Nights for 2020 are:
- Saturday, June 13th, 2020, 8:30 pm
- Saturday, June 27th, 2020, 8:30 pm
- Saturday, July 11th, 2020, 8:30 pm
- Saturday, August 22nd, 2020, 8:30 pm
Rocky Mountain National Park Astronomy Programs
Due to the current Corona Virus Pandemic, the Astronomy in the Park program has been suspended until next year. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused you.
Observe the night sky with the help of a park ranger and expert volunteer astronomers. Rocky Mountain National Park offers weekly Astronomy in the Park programs from June through August. A traditional astronomy program is conducted in Upper Beaver Meadows every other week and includes a 20 to 30 minute interpretive presentation by park rangers followed by a night of observing put on by local astronomers and park volunteers. Dress warm, bring binoculars and a flashlight, and meet at the Upper Beaver Meadows Trail-head parking area.
“The 2020 Dates for the Traditional Viewing Program are:”
- Friday, June 19th & 26th
- Friday, July 10th & 17th
- Friday, August 14th & 21st
Every other week, “The Story Behind the Moon & the Stars” program will incorporate star lore and activities for families. The program will include a constellation tour and viewing with binoculars, naked eye, and possibly telescopes. This program will take place at the Moraine Park Visitor Center in the RMNP and will last approximately 1 & 1/2 hours.
Stories Behind the Moon & Stars
- schedule coming later TBD
Night Sky Festival Three days of fun activities, speakers, programs and night sky viewing. Event is scheduled for TBD. Start times for this program have not yet been set.
This Months EPMO & EVAS Astronomy Lecture
The Estes Park Memorial Observatory (EPMO) in conjunction with the Estes Valley Astronomical Society (EVAS) hold a joint meeting every month that features a lecture on an astronomy topic followed by a viewing session. The meetings start at 7:PM and open with a short discussion of current EVAS business. A short presentation about a star currently visible in the night sky precedes the formal lecture for the evening. Invited speakers who work in the field of astronomy or aerospace generally give the lectures.
Estes Park Clear Sky Chart
Estes Park Sky Map (SkyMaps.com)
What’s Up for May 2021 From NASA JPL
The Skies over Colorado April 2021 by John Ensworth
A Talk About
The Estes Valley Astronomical Society (EVAS) in conjunction with The Estes Park Memorial Observatory is offering a free public open house/star night on Saturday, February 25th, 7 PM. The goal of EVAS is to promote amateur astronomy and education in the Estes valley.
Our speaker for this month’s public star night will be John Ensworth. The title of his presentation will be “A Talk about ‘Nothing’”
Space…the final frontier…is really the busiest stuff you’ve never heard of. In this month’s presentation, John will introduce you to the physics of empty space. Most of the universe is empty nothingness and most of every atom is empty nothingness – or are they? Might there be a mysterious ether that galaxies and planets swim in, or is there something subtler going on out there? This talk will discuss, in brief; the mind-bending concept of the curvature of spacetime, the role of virtual particles- zero-point energy and how they relate to Hawking radiation and the eventual evaporation of black holes. He’ll cover the existence of fields (like the Higgs field), and touch on the still mysterious quantities called dark matter, dark energy. Finally, it is possible that space may not even exist. It will be much ado about nothing.
John Ensworth is currently the Principle Investigator of the NASA SMD Independent Education Product Review at the IGES (www.strategies.org). His position is the one responsible for conducting these reviews and helping with NASA education and outreach efforts. In the 90’s Mr. Ensworth was a masters’ student and a PhD candidate in meteorology at the University of Oklahoma. He earned undergraduate degrees in physics and astronomy, and geography and meteorology with an emphasis in math and computer science.
John became interested in astronomy in the 2nd grade and began to teach astronomy to cub scouts and boy scouts by the 5th grade. He worked for the Arizona State University planetarium when Halley’s Comet paid the inner solar system a visit in ‘85/’86 and taught the astronomy labs, was the head TA and eventually taught an astronomy course through the rest of the 80’s (as an undergraduate). He was awarded an internship at Steward Observatory, at the University of Arizona, Tucson, and conducted site testing for the placement of the Mt. Graham observatory complex. He also observed at the 4-meter telescope at Kitt Peak, a 36” telescope at Kitt Peak, and at the Multi-Mirror Telescope (now the Mega Mirror Telescope) at Mt. Whipple.
More recently, he’s run more than 60 astronomy nights for Arizona, Oklahoma, Virginia and Colorado residents. He served an internship at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in the year 2000 and is a volunteer at the Little Thompson Observatory in Berthoud, Colorado. He teaches math and science courses at the University of Phoenix, Grand Canyon University, and Mid- American Christian University. You can view a Webcam of his backyard observatory (Cherrywood Observatory) in Longmont,CO at Weather Underground or at his personal webcam page.
The observatory doors will open at 7:00 pm and the presentation will start at 7:30 pm. Weather permitting after the presentation, visitors will be invited to look through a telescope at various celestial objects. Public star nights are held the fourth Saturday of each month. No reservations are necessary for these nights. Just come and join us for the talk and some observing afterward.
The Estes Valley Astronomical Society (EVAS) in conjunction with The Estes Park Memorial Observatory is offering a free public open house/star night on Saturday, March 25th, 7 PM. The goal of EVAS is to promote amateur astronomy and education in the Estes valley.
Our speaker for this evening will be Dr John Spencer from the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder and the title of his talk will be “NASA’s New Horizons Mission to Pluto and beyond”.
On July 14th 2015, NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft made the first-ever encounter with the dwarf planet Pluto, its giant moon Charon, and entourage of four smaller satellites. New Horizons revealed that the Pluto system is unlike any place previously explored.
Dr. Spencer will discuss the many remarkable things we learned about the Pluto system, the experience of being part of the science team, and the plans for New Horizon’s continued exploration of the Kuiper Belt.
John Spencer is an Institute Scientist at the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado, and a member of the New Horizons science team, where his roles have included ensuring safe passage of the spacecraft through the Pluto system, finding additional worlds beyond Pluto for New Horizons to explore, and planning the observations of the mission’s prime Kuiper Belt target, 2014 MU69. A native of England, he obtained his PhD in Planetary Sciences from the University of Arizona in 1987, and has since worked at the University of Hawaii and at Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona (where Pluto was discovered) before joining Southwest Research Institute in 2004. He studies the moons and other small bodies of the outer solar system using ground-based telescopes, the Hubble Space Telescope, and close-up spacecraft observations. He was a science team member on the Galileo Jupiter orbiter and continues to work on the science team of the Cassini Saturn orbiter. Among other work, he was involved in the discovery of current activity on Saturn’s moon Enceladus, solving the mystery of the black-and-white appearance of Saturn’s moon Iapetus, and the discovery of oxygen on the surfaces of Jupiter’s icy moons.
The observatory is just north of the high school at 1600 Manford Ave. Park in the teacher’s parking lot between the high school and the observatory. The doors will open at 7:00 pm and the presentation will start at 7:30 pm. Weather permitting after the presentation, visitors will be invited to look through our large telescope at various celestial objects.