North Lake’s dark skies offer ideal venue for summer stargazing


The dark skies above North Lake Tahoe and Truckee provide a unique viewing experience of the night sky, and this summer will be no different. Tahoe Star Tours will welcome those visiting the region back for docent-led stargazing Thursdays and Saturdays from June 16 to Sept. 3 at the Dark Skies Cosmoarium.

Led by amateur astronomer and poet Tony Berendsen, past president of the Northern Nevada Science Coalition, each tour of the night sky includes a lively science-based talk about the cosmos and telescopic view of the constellations through high-powered, professional Celestron telescopes. The telescopes use leading edge computerized technology for accurate pointing and tracking, with advanced optics for sharp, crisp views of distant celestial objects like galaxies and nebulae. Telescope operators will guide guests through the wonders of the cosmos including viewing of the planets, moon and stars.

“Inspired by the recent launch of the James Webb Space Telescope, the theme of our talks this summer will focus on what the new telescope will be looking for in the cosmos,” said Berendsen. “We’ll also host Dr. Aarran Shaw, postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Nevada, Reno, as a guest speaker at our July 16 event, and will present tributes to astronomer Carl Sagan and the substantial influence he had on helping people understand the cosmos at our final two events of the season on Sept. 1 and 3.”

Dr. Shaw, who specializes in studies of black holes, neutron stars and white dwarfs, obtained his undergraduate degree in physics from the University of Leeds, UK, before completing his PhD in astrophysics at the University of Southampton. After earning his doctorate, Shaw relocated to Edmonton, Canada to continue his studies and after three years, moved to Reno to take up his current position at UNR. His presentation on July 16 will focus on the recent successful deployment of the James Webb Space Telescope and what the future holds for infrared astronomy. He will discuss how we might use the observatory to peer into the early Universe, or how we can use infrared light to unlock the secrets of the violent outbursts we often see from black holes.

Officially a “bronze” level dark skies park as measured by the International Dark-Sky Association, the Cosmoarium at Northstar California is located near the entrance to the resort on the upper level of the Castle Peak parking area. Offering convenient access for both guests staying at or visiting the resort, the site features wide, unobstructed horizons for viewing. Participants receive a Star Guide button and souvenir flashlight, and also have access to amenities including comfortable seating, fire pits, outdoor heaters, bathrooms, complimentary s’mores, hot chocolate, bottled water and convenient, free on-site parking just a short walk from the viewing area.

Tahoe Star Tours events are $50 for adults and $30 for children ages 12 and under (age 3 and under are free). Tours begin at 8:15 p.m. and conclude at 10:30 p.m. Gift cards are available, and discounts are offered to active-duty military, seniors ages 65+, and Epic Pass holders. Well behaved, leashed dogs are welcome.

In addition to stargazing through computerized Celestron telescopes, guests will have the option to participate in a binocular tour using a pair of Celestron binoculars. This element of the tour is available for an additional $10 per person and is open to the first 10 people to reserve in advance.

Berendsen has produced astronomy events in the Lake Tahoe region for 20+ years. His style of mixing science and art has been featured in publications including The New York Times and Conde Nast Traveler.

Advance reservations for all Tahoe Star Tours events are recommended, and all tours are offered weather and conditions permitting.

Tahoe Star Tours also offers private group events by advance reservation. Learn more and reserve tickets at

Source: Tahoe Star Tours

Tahoe Star Tours’ interactive stargazing experience to shed light on what the new James Webb Space Telescope may tell us about the cosmos.
Photo courtesy of Tahoe Star Tours

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