Updated: Jul 20
an updated FAQ can be found here: https://www.astrotours.org/post/updated-frequently-asked-questions-faqs
Please note these FAQs are for the Boulder tour for questions about Winter Park please reach out to email@example.com
How do I book? Just visit astrotours.org/booking 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.com 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. For Boulder: 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,+COfirstname.lastname@example.org,-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
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?
Prices are listed here: https://www.astrotours.org/discounts
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=
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. What is your drug/alcohol policy?
This is a family program and drinking and smoking is not permitted at the sight. Showing up sober is recommended. If you are planning on getting intoxicated prior to the tour being stoned is recommended over being drunk. full details are here: https://www.astrotours.org/post/drug-and-alcohol-policy
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 buy a gift card here: https://www.astrotours.org/gift
You can communicate with the recipient and book the night they want.
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 (15 to 20)X(60 to 40). first # is zoom more zoom makes it harder to use The second number 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 with ~50 being a good middle ground.
There's a few more options, but those are good rules of thumb.