Enjoy star gazing while kayaking on Lake Tahoe | SierraSun.com

Enjoy star gazing while kayaking on Lake Tahoe

Linda J. Bottjer
Lake Tahoe Action
Courtesy of Tahoe Adventure Company
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LAKE TAHOE and#8212; Push off in a kayak and there is that moment where balance floats between the human body and the body of water.

When that body of water is Lake Tahoe, the kayaker often requires several moments to gain their equilibrium as they face the sheer expanse of sky reflected in crystal clear water surrounded by majestic peaks.

This Monday, Aug. 1, Tahoe Adventure Company and Stargazer Tours again combine forces to present the and#8220;Astronomy Adventure: Sagittarius and the Galactic Center.and#8221;

The tour begins with a twilight paddle out of Tahoe Vista.

No previous kayaking experience is necessary, according to Kevin Hicks, owner of Tahoe Adventure Company.

and#8220;We welcome the total beginner,and#8221; he said.

Should kayakers’ safety be threatened by high winds, the tour will switch from the water to the land with an easy hike from a nearby trailhead. Hicks also said children as young as eight years old are encouraged to participate.

As current president of the Northern Nevada Science Coalition, Tony Berendsen’s life-long interest and knowledge gives even space cadets, whose only familiarity with the Milky Way is the chocolate-enrobed kind, a better understanding and appreciation of the skies above.

Berendsen encourages those on the tour to bring large aperture telescopes and high-powered binoculars to better become star trekkers.

and#8220;From where we will be standing we will have a perfect view the constellation of Sagittarius across the lake,and#8221; he said.

Sagittarius’ stars form an archer and also contain the galactic center of the Milky Way.

Containing as much as 500 billion stars, much of what the human eye can see, even with a telescope, appears hazy.

Berendsen says that is due to the stars’ distance in light years from Earth. The closer the gap, the brighter and clearer a star will appear.

One of the night sky’s most luminous visions is Arcturus.

and#8220;We see it as a single point of light,and#8221; says Berendsen.

Big and glowing red at only 37 light years away from our planet, it is the brightest star in the Northern Hemisphere.

The sun is predicted to swell to match Arcturus’ size and hot coloring. Berendsen calms the concern of some tour participants by reminding them the event is still 4.5 million years away.

A 50-inch diagonal monitor will also show close-up views of the stars when the telescopes and binoculars fail to give the same image often seen from the Hubble Telescope.

Berendsen also adds an artistic appreciation to his tours. An acclaimed poet, he reads an original creation with each tour.

In his and#8220;Milky Wayand#8221; poem he writes: and#8220;Caressing the beginnings of an endless cycle,/we see from inside and beyond.and#8221;

Two additional kayaking/star gazing tours are scheduled for late August and early September.