• Luke

How do I book? Just look at the calendar at astrotours.org/booking and shoot me an email, text, or call to luke@astrotours.org, or 303.324.5831

be sure to say: your name, the night you would like to book, how many you are trying to book for, and a way to contact you with weather updates and directions before the tour.

I will put you in on my records as a booking for the night you selected and send you an email thanking you for booking my tour.

I will send you another message a day or two before the tour with a weather update.

You can complete payment in person or on my website at astrotours.org/payments Could you add room for an extra person or two?

I usually can make room for a few extra on most tours, just contact me at luke@astrotours.org or 303.324.5831 to be sure.

Can you add availability on a certain day?

I usually can add a tour to days that are not listed on my calendar, as long as the request is made well ahead of time (this usually requires contacting more than a week before the desired date, the more advance the request is given the more likely I will be able to accommodate it. just contact me at luke@astrotours.org or 303.324.5831 to be sure. What is the Address?

Please only come out to the site if you have a confirmed booking, walk ups are rejected if the tour is full. If you look up "Boulder Valley Ranch Trailhead" In Google maps is the best way to find it. Unfortunately, the address I have for the place gets people lost more often than not. The address is 3900 Longhorn Rd DO NOT put this address in tom-tom, apple maps, or any GPS without making sure it is the same place that comes up when you google "Boulder Valley Ranch Trailhead" and/or in the location map given by AirBnB.

The coordinates are: 40°04'48.2"N 105°15'47.7"W Google maps: https://www.google.com/maps/place/Boulder+Valley+Ranch+Trailhead,+Sage+Trail,+Boulder,+CO+80302/@40.079893,-105.2627726,15z/data=!4m5!3m4!1s0x0:0x47a7634265f48ce1!8m2!3d40.079893!4d-105.2627726 Apple maps: https://duckduckgo.com/?q=boulder+valley+ranch+trailhead&t=canonical&ia=web&iaxm=maps

Bing maps: https://www.bing.com/maps?q=bouldervalley+ranch+trailhead&pc=MOZI&form=MOZSBR

To be extra sure you can send me a screenshot of the GPS location and I will tell you if it's right.

How much is a tour?

I ask $40 per person. I offer half price for anyone 12 and under, and free for 2 and under. I am very approachable to adjust prices further in genuine cases of need, if the request is accompanied by a smile. :)

I’d like to know more about the tour:

Tours start at sunset and last 2hrs. I start with a talk about the telescopes and looking at a few twilight objects. Then there's a 30 to 45min astronomy talk where, I will teach you how to navigate with the stars, point out some constellations with my lazer and share their stories as we let our eyes adjust to the night. Next is ~45 min of telescope time where we get to look at: planets, constellations, satellites, nebula, clusters, galaxies, maybe some shooting stars, and our universe. I end with a 15min q&a and a last few objects (I love looking at things in the telescopes so, guests are free to stay as late as they like and I will keep pointing telescopes at things, answering questions, and talking, as long as there's an audience).

What’s the Weather looking like?:

I'll keep you posted with weather reports as the day of the tour gets closer These is usually my most trusted source if you want to keep track of it with me: Natl weather service here: https://forecast.weather.gov/MapClick.php?w0=t&w1=td&w2=wc&w3=sfcwind&w3u=1&w4=sky&w5=pop&w6=rh&w7=rain&w8=thunder&w9=snow&w10=fzg&w11=sleet&w13u=0&w16u=1&w17u=1&pqpfhr=6&psnwhr=6&AheadHour=0&Submit=Submit&FcstType=graphical&textField1=40.0822&textField2=-105.2428&site=all&unit=0&dd=&bw=

How I read Weather.gov 's chart

And (weather underground) here: https://www.wunderground.com/hourly/us/co/boulder/date/2019-07-30/KCOBOULD86?cm_ven=localwx_hour

What happens when the weather looks bad?

I give as much heads up as possible if it is looking like it might be cloudy 3 to 4 days out: Don't panic, weather reports are notoriously wrong here in Colorado. I don't make any calls until the day before the tour, and I will keep my eye on it as the day gets closer.

If I see a tour day isn’t looking that clear 3-4 days out I send a message warning guests and advising on days that have better weather and has room to add extra guests.

I offer worry free booking so if you wish to rebook or refund your tour at anytime that is 100% fine. I also guarantee satisfaction with my tour so if you do come and we are clouded out or for any reason you are not satisfied, just let me know and I'll issue a full refund.

I'll keep you posted if the forecast changes in the next few days

1 to 2 days before the tour: If the weather report hasn’t changed much and it is a day or two before the tour send a message informing guests that cancellation is likely and offering days to rebook.

I might hold off officially calling the tour off if it looks to be clearing a little, in hopes it will continue to clear.

I often will add an additional tour on a day which looks to be the more clear at this point and encourage anyone that’s able to rebook to do so

Within 24hrs of the tour:If the weather is still cloudy, we will have to cancel

If you are unable to rebook I will put your refund in shortly after letting you know it has ben canceled, let me know if you do not receive a refund within 24hrs.

Is there any hiking or walking involved?

Nope, No hiking required. the Tour takes place a trailhead parking lot, you will be less than 75ft from your car, and the ground is flat. I provide chairs for you to sit in during most of the show, and can assist you getting around if needed. Most of the telescopes require standing to use, however I can show the same things in more accessible telescopes if needed, and you will be able to sit during telescope time if needed as well. Please let me know if more wheelchair accessible telescopes are needed.

I will be staying in Denver how should I get to the tour?

The tour is located right off hwy-36 which leaves north-west out of Denver. It is about 25 Miles outside of Denver right outside of Boulder (a ~suburb of Denver).

If you are planning on doing my tour and staying in Denver (without a car) I suggest taking the Flatiron Flyer, a nice & fast bus that will take you from downtown Denver to downtown Boulder for $5.50, you will then need to Uber the last 4 miles to the site of the tour. Uber/Lyft will pick up and drop off at the sight.

If you are visiting from out of state I would recommend making a day out of visiting boulder, coming in the morning and seeing Boulder. Boulder is a cultural, natural, and economic hub of the greater Denver area. Most things are within walking distance. My top places are Chautauqua park, Pearl St Mall, and the celestial seasoning's tea factory.

Is this show suitable for children?

All ages are welcome! I just warn parents of young children: this is a late night show geared for a developed mind requiring a good attention span, little ones often fall asleep. As 2 year olds will probably be asleep the whole time, I offer it free to babies 2 and under.

Will there be cell phone reception?

Yes, I’ve never had a guest have trouble getting a phone signal at the sight. All major networks have coverage. If necessary I can provide tethering via my phone if needed.

Can I give a tour as a Gift? Yes, definitely! I have a few ways you could gift a tour: You can communicate with the recipient and book the night they want or once you have revealed the surprise to them just send me a message with their name and contact info and I'll communicate with them to find what day works best for them.

I keep a physical calendar which I use to make notes and edits on. If you book a night and they say they want a different night I can just note the change on my calendar.

Let me know the occasion as I have special things for anniversaries and birthdays. should we come earlier? If you want to come earlier to see the telescopes in the daylight and ask questions, ~15min before the show starts, I usually talk about the telescopes as a bonus for anyone that's early but I won't start the actual show till after the start time. Are Dogs welcome?:

Dogs are welcome! They are required to be on a leash at the trail head so my main concern is that you watch your dog to be sure the leash isn't tangled around a tripod (or knocking over a telescope). I love dogs and am excited to have them on the tour! What telescope should I buy?

For back yard I'd say a Dobsonian telescope and for camping/travel/etc a Schmitt-cassigrain. don't get anything smaller than a 4 inch telescope (smaller than 4inch would just be a toy for looking at the moon, you're better off with a pair of binoculars).

Honestly just starting with a good set of binoculars is a great way to go. you will be impressed with what you can see in binos and if you do get a telescope they're nice to find what you want to point a telescope at. get (60 to 40)X(15 to 20). first # is aperture the bigger the better but harder to carry so 60 would be for in a car 40 would be for on a hike. second number is zoom more zoom makes it harder to use.

There's a few more options, but those are good rules of thumb.

I forced a bot to write 1000 hrs of PBS documentaries and this is what I made up it saying:

Pastel background with words:

[male disembodied voice]

Viewers like you fund the possible

{time to donate music plays}

[male disembodied voice]

And the education grant provided with underwritten support from the department of corporation DKB&F Foundation funding for the future.

Dramatic mountain tops with stars space and bizarre creatures eating each other:

{drums and flute play}

[female disembodied voice]

For a long long long long time the impossible was never done until one man discovered the secret.

Fade in to one guy in 3 pairs of safety glasses and lab coat with safety glasses in pocket, standing arms crossed, expression on his face says it all, telescopes and microscopes in each hand. Different colored liquids in skinny bottles on all counter tops in his kitchen.

[female disembodied voice]

Meet Dr. professor Doug; Dr. professor Doug is just your ordinary guy that has a discovery of a new talent extraordinarily!

We see Doug sitting in comfy chair arms no longer crossed just one pair of penta-focal glasses, he is comfy and we are jealous. Lamp next to him flickers and lights up the bookshelf behind him. Normally a bookshelf would break with this much knowledge but this one is strong made out of wood or something, we are jealous of this too. Words appear under Doug he’s a Dr at the hospital university college DKB&F foundation.

[Dr. prof. Doug]

*Laughs* the funny part about it is it was funny all along

We know doug is credible and human we see it in his human skin and hear it in his laughter we laugh with him and enjoy being humans and not bots.

[female disembodied voice]

Doug made discovery unbelievable important and impossibly possible

We see an impossible creature flying above a snow covered mountain at the bottom of the Ocean.

[Dr. prof. Doug]

*Laughs* Just like life and my car keys the last place you look is where you find it. We were looking for something different and discovered something the same and this was different from the different we were looking for in a different way. You see this creature. This is a Dinosaur-Kangaroo-Bat-Fish-asuras and has been around longer than time itself.

We see the the bottom of the ocean is in a fish tank in a different place Doug is standing above fish tank safety goggles, lab coat. The bookshelf has been replaced by a computer not made of wood but made of shiny metal and blinking lights.

[Dr. prof. Doug]

*Laughs* we have to see the Dinosaur-Kangaroo-Bat-Fish-asuras to believe the creature

We see the creature it has skin not like human skin but like space the space fills up the ocean and the place and now we see Doug in the space station in space. The computer’s shiny metal skin is replaced with white foam space computer skin.

[Dr. prof. Doug]

*Laughs*this creature is releasing a photopshicoconetic signal to our sensory perspective that really makes reality impossible without the possible. This creature hunts its prey in the amazon alps and digests it without killing it so that it can keep living in the digestive tract.

We realize that doug is a terrible source as he has taken too much money from the DKB&F foundation but we are too mesmerized by the photopshicoconetic space skin to stop watching.

[female disembodied voice]

We are currently being digested by the creature but that’s ok because Doug has a plan.

[Dr. prof. Doug]

*Laughs* we can just keep living in the creature as it won’t kill the pray it eats.

The lights on the space computer blinks faster and in different sequences than before

[Dr. prof. Doug]

*stops laughing for the first time* Oh no the computer has been internet hacked just like in the hollywood movies we never thought this could happen the real documentaries become like the Hollywood movies

Abruptly cut to the interior of a call center


Wow! Right Tom


Yes wow Becky you don’t get programming like this on the other networks that is why we have to ask for your money today!


That’s right Tom we have hundreds of phones ready to take your money

We see the hundreds of phones and hear hundreds of annoying ringing in the background.


And if you call today you will get the whole series on a tape cassette stitched into a tote bag.

We stop watching as Tom and Becky have no screen chemistry, the phone ringing is annoying and we have no cassette player or money for public television.

  • Luke

Departing from my usual blog content I will be sharing some of my favorite places in Boulder in the next few posts.

Davidson Mesa Overlook - As you come in to Boulder via Hwy-36 at the top of the last major hill is an overlook with a visitor information stand. The turn off is at mile marker 42 and has big blue road sings pointing it out. This is defiantly worth the stop and should only add ~5 minuets to your trip.​

The turn off to Davidson Mesa

Davidson Mesa proves a panoramic view of the Front Range mountains, the City of Boulder, and its famous Flatirons rock formation; a monument to the Denver-Boulder Turnpike is also located here.

The view from Davidson Mesa

From here you can see Eldorado Canyon which is home to Eldorado Springs (a small town most known for its bottled water) and Eldorado Canyon State Park (a popular destination for rock climbers). Of course “El Dorado” Canyon means "The Gold" Canyon, The canyon got this name due to the golden color of the lichen on the cliff walls.

Eldorado Canyon State Park entrance gate

At the base of the mountains just south of Boulder you can spot the US National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR). NCAR is a research and development center that studies meteorology, climate science, atmospheric chemistry, and the environment. NCAR's building was designed by architect I. M. Pei (known for many works such as the glass pyramid at the Louvre in Paris) who modeled the design after the cliff dwellings in Mesa Verde.

View of NCAR

The FlatIrons are an Icon of Boulder as they tower over the town and can be seen from almost any where. They are the jagged red rocks at the base of the mountains. They extend south quite a ways however the first five (numbered 1-5 going south) are the main ones. They are made up of the Fountain Formation the same formation that makes Red Rocks Amphitheater, Garden of The Gods, Roxborough State Park, and many other amazing places across the front range. The Fountain Formation is from a geologic period called the "Pennsylvanian" (because this was when the coal found in Pennsylvania was discovered) which was ~290 million years ago. I can cover this more in my tour if you ask me but, just like the earth orbits around the sun the sun orbits around the black hole at the center of our galaxy. One orbit of the sun around the Galaxy is called a Galactic year and, occurs every ~250 million earth years. Therefore, you can imagine that one galactic year ago, when the sun & earth were in this same part of our galaxy, that we are in now, the rocky mountains were just starting to rise out of a giant inland sea and forming these flatiorns you see before you now.

View of the Flatirons from Chautauqua

At the base of the flatirons is a beautiful park called Chautauqua. Chautauqua hosts many performances, cultural events, lectures, and was the site of my parent's wedding! It is a beautiful park where you can access a large system of trails and climb all the way to the top of the flatirons. It was once a ski resort but no longer receives enough snow, a few of the runs are still open to sledding on snow days.

CU's campus sticks out as a dash of red in the middle of the town. They started building campus buildings in the traditional academic architecture with marble but quickly realized it didn't match the environment. So, they switched to red rocks like that found in the fountain formation which makes up the flatirons, and left them with more of their natural texture.

Aerial view of CU Boulder's campus with the flatirons, Chautauqua, and NCAR visible.

You can see Longs Peak towering over everything. Longs Peak is 14,259-foot (4346 m) making it a "fourteener" (Colorado is proud of all our mountains that are over 14,000ft and give them this special designation, Longs Peak is the north most "fourteener"). Longs Peak is located in the Rocky Mountain National Park Wilderness. It is the highest point in Boulder County and Rocky Mountain National Park. The mountain was named in honor of explorer Stephen Harriman Long and is on the Colorado state quarter.

Colorado's state quarter which depicts Longs Peak

If you are on your way to my tour looking at longs peak is a good measurement of visibility. Long's Peak is exactly 28 miles away from Davidson Mesa. If you can see Longs peak clearly you can be sure it will be a good night for astronomy. If Longs peak is covered in cloud you might want to give me a call to see if you can re-book to a more clear night. You might also check for my flyer in the info stand at Davidson Mesa ;)