Amateur astronomers open eyes of campers to universe above

A camping trip led to an unexpected look at the wonders of the night sky, thanks to the Glacial Lakes Astronomers and Stargazers Society.

STARBUCK — A recent camping trip to Glacial Lakes State Park offered lots of pleasant surprises, from the spotted fawn that stood motionless as we paddled the shoreline of Mountain Lake, to the Large Beard Tongue blooming along the prairie trails we hiked.

On our first night we watched the International Space Station arc across the sky seemingly just above the sparks from our campfire.

The next night we gazed at the rings of Saturn, Ring Nebula in far-away space, and galaxies that sparkled with millions of stars.

Our unexpected look at the wonders of the night sky came courtesy of John Skorczewski of Glenwood, and Mark and Diane Yorkovich of Villard.

They comprise what they call the Glacial Lakes Astronomy and Stargazers Society. They love astronomy. Once a month, they haul their powerful telescopes to the park and offer campers an opportunity to see why they can be so passionate about it.

Large Blue Tongue

“I like coming out here and showing people who would otherwise not see this stuff,’’ said Skorczewski.

They usually don’t lack for people eager to see this stuff either. They know of people from the Twin Cities who made camping trips to Glacial Lakes State Park in the hopes that the skies would be clear and they would have their telescopes aimed.

They schedule their monthly visits for the second Saturday of the month, but will adjust the schedule depending on the prospects for clear skies. They set up at the equestrian campground at dusk.

Children are welcome. The adults have been known to stay until 3:30 a.m. There’s that much to see.

Call ahead to the park to check on their schedule if interested (320-239-2860) or check out the amateur astronomers’ website, which includes their schedule: http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/state_parks/glacial_lakes/index.html

 

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