The Universe At Your Door

Discover what "dark sky" really means! Looking upward at night here can be breathtaking: a sea of glittering stars, like diamonds scattered on black felt, stretches to the horizon. It is a moving and exhilarating sight, and affirms to every partaker their measure against this inscrutable vastness. On every clear night, we haul out our big 10-inch telescope and invite you for a tour of the Universe. Together, we'll go to places near and far: to satellites, double stars, planets, galaxies and even further.

Plan Your Visit

Planets and stars are on extremely reliable paths: we can look years and sometimes centuries into the future and predict their positions almost perfectly. Below is a look ahead to the coming months, and what's "up there". We usually look at one or two of the items in each box, but we can do "requests". When you've decided on the month that you expect to join us, check out the appropriate box. Or, pick what you want to see and plan your trip around that. There's a brief description of what's available to look at for all or part of the month.

The Amazing Moon

Our busy lives afford us time for only occasional glances up at the Moon; its presence we unconsciously note, and hurry on to our destination. Our memories might recall the Moon as a childhood or romantic backdrop, a reminder of the magic moments of our lives. Evening soirees, Caribbean cruises, wilderness camping, and swing sets on the porch: all might be witnessed from above by our lovely Moon. Here at Evergreen forest, we would like to add more to your memory trove. If the moon is in the sky, we haul out our big 10-inch telescope and invite you for a tour of our nearest neighbour. For about twelve nights each month, the Moon is an early evening target, an exquisite orb, full of mysteries awaiting our eyepiece. Together, we'll go to places on that magical surface, and create new memories. Below are a few of the wonders we've seen in the last few years. When you visit us, expect to be amazed by what you've never seen, on something that's always been there.

The Peaks of Eternal Light

Although the Moon certainly has no air to breathe or liquid water to drink, it's similar to us in other ways: it's approximately spherical, it has mountains and mountain ranges, there are days and nights (although each is 360 hours long!) and it has cold north and south poles. Those poles have some really weird characteristics, though. There are deep craters in the Northern polar region that never see sunlight, and are now known to contain ice, protected from the sun. Since 1837, it has been speculated that a mountain near one of the moon's poles could be a "Peak of Eternal Light" i.e. the sun never sets on it. This astonishing idea has since gained some credibility, as a team from Johns Hopkins University has indicated that parts of the Peary Crater's rim may be candidates for this unique designation. Here's a close-up of the moon's north pole:

In this dramatic close-up, we get a feel for the rough, bumpy terrain of the northern moon. The craters Plato and Goldschmidt serve as our "pointer" to locate Peary, as it is just to the left of where they point. Obviously, our view of Peary is edge-on, so it appears as a thin, bright line. There may be some peaks here that are always above the moon's terminator, like brightly-lit mountain-tops after sunset. Disregarding the occasional lunar eclipse, perhaps some of those elements really are blessed with eternal sunshine! The best time to view things on the Moon is when they're near the terminator. Not Arnold Schwarzenegger! It's the dividing line between night and day, where the shadows are long and mountains and craters are really visible. The Crater Theophilus, at 28% Illumination

This is the terminator region of the Moon's surface, the dividing line between darkness and daylight, where the sunlight is very low-angle, creating lots of shadows and highlights. The terminator is not as dramatic on the moon as it is on the earth, where it sweeps across our surface as fast as 1000 miles/hour; on the moon it's more like about 10 miles/hour. Here on earth, only jets and rockets can stay ahead of the terminator; on the moon, you could run ahead of it! So what's interesting near the terminator? The crater Theophilus, of course! Here's a close-up of crater Theophilus:

When the moon is 28% illuminated, it's a perfect time to explore Theophilus, a major impact crater on the Moon's near side. The low-angle lighting makes their details jump right out at you. At almost 3 miles(!) deep, this is one massive crater. That central bright point is a mountain, rising nearly a mile from the crater floor, complete with four separate peaks. You've got to see this in a telescope, because these pictures don't do justice to what you actually see out on a dark night.