Thank you for booking!
Thank you for booking my tour, I will send you a welcome letter with an up to date weather report and all the info you will need a day or two from the start of the tour. Please explore my web page and feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns you might have.
Keep in touch beyond your tour:
About the Tour
A weekly tour for all ages located at Winter Park. Tours start at sunset and last for 2 hours. The show will explore the night sky with several large telescopes and a laser pointer. We will see and learn about planets, constellations, navigation, satellites, nebula, clusters, galaxies, maybe some shooting stars (if lucky), and our universe. Through telescopes we will get up close looks at these objects and take in their beauty with our own eyes. Guests are provided with a red flashlight, comfy seating, and hot coco. Guests are encouraged to bring questions, wonderment, and warm clothing (it will get cold after sunset).
Please be aware of weather, tour is subject to cancellation if it is too cloudy to see any stars.
How do I book? Booking is done on Winter Park's Ways Website
Can you add availability on a certain day?
Usually not Winter Park tours are planned months in advance if you want to do a tour at my Boulder location I usually have a lot more flexibility to change dates
How much is a tour?
we ask 59$ for the hill house tour, and 79$ for the gondola
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
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.
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 I 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 been 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 near the starting location there might be a 75yard walk max.
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. There's also free Wifi.
Can I give a tour as a Gift? The Boulder tour is more flexible and therefore likely better for a gift
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.
Weather reports are notoriously untrustworthy in Colorado. I do not make plans around weather reports that are further out than 24hrs. This is why I wait until the day before the tour to message guests weather reports. If you are ever worried about the weather please contact guest services at winter park. If you think it will be too cold, wet, or cloudy for you to enjoy the tour I will be happy to issue a refund just please give me as much of a heads up as possible (28hrs in advance for a weather cancellation is ideal). I also guarantee satisfaction so if you do come and we are clouded out or if for any reason you are not satisfied please contact guest services at winter park and they will issue a full refund.
The top things I check is; cloud cover, chance of rain, and temperature.
Cloud cover effects astronomy greatly, I don't express concern until the reports are saying around 50% cloud. Cloud can come and go during the 2hr tour and if they are thin high atmosphere clouds we can see thru them. I canceled due to thick ~70% cloud cover.
Rain can damage my telescopes and equipment, I have covers and tarps if there are small quick showers but if the chances are too much above 50% I'll usually call it off.
Temperature is fairly subjective, I have never canceled a tour due to temperature, actually the colder nights usually have calmer atmospheric conditions making the sky better. However if you wish to rebook to a warmer tour please contact me.
I have 4 places I check for astronomy weather. I have them listed here in order of trustworthiness:
NOAA and the National Weather Service have large laboratories in boulder. I would recommend touring one of their facilities while you're out here. If it interests you NOAA offer free tours of their Earth System Research Laboratory every Tuesday. However they do not play favorites with their weather forecast, I have known them to be way off a number of times so always check more than just them
The best report for the tour site is https://forecast.weather.gov/MapClick.php?lat=39.8707&lon=-105.7688&unit=0&lg=english&FcstType=graphical
That page should open in a new tab looking like this:
scroll down to see the full forecast and use the tools shown here: