The Appalachian Mountain Club's backcountry huts and roadside lodges in the White Mountains are the sites this summer of astronomy programs designed to teach visitors about the night sky - and the daytime sky - through firsthand observation.
In collaboration with AMC, astronomers from the Carthage Institute of Astronomy at Carthage College are slated to be on hand at various venues to point out celestial sights and assist sky-watchers with observations.
Starting June 8 and running through Aug. 23, when the weather is clear, visitors can join astronomers for daily sky observations at the AMC Highland Center at Crawford Notch. Special telescopes will be available to allow participants to view the sun safely, and telescopes will also be available for nighttime observation of stars and other celestial bodies.
At 5 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from June 10 through Aug, 23, astronomy discussions at the Highland Center will help participants develop their understanding of astronomy, with a separate topic slated for each day. Participants can learn about the latest developments in the field, including information on new astronomy-related apps, and they can try out different types of telescopes.
Astronomy-related evening programs are also set for the Highland Center and the AMC Pinkham Notch Visitor Center. The series, "Stars Above the Notch: Astronomy in the White Mountains," features presentations by physics and astronomy Professor Douglas Arion focusing on the interconnectedness of the universe.
These 8 p.m. presentations are slated for the Highland Center on June 8, 18, and 29, July 6, Aug. 3, and Sept. 7. Programs at the Pinkham Notch Visitor Center are set for Aug. 6, 13, and 20. If weather is clear, telescopes will be available for participants to view the night sky. These programs are free and open to the public.
Astronomy programs are also slated on certain dates this summer at some of AMC's backcountry huts in the White Mountains. Details are available by calling 466-2727.
This summer's astronomy programs are sponsored by Celestron, Inc.; Galileoscope, LLC; Atmosphere New Media and the International Dark Sky Association.
Opportunities still available for summer teen trail maintenance, adventure programs.
With summer just around the corner, teens looking for an exciting way to spend part of their upcoming school vacation may want to consider AMC's Teen Trail Crew programs and Teen Wilderness Adventure programs.
Spaces are filling up fast in the teen Trail Crew programs, but a few spots were still available on a few of the one-week trail crews that start in June. Openings also exist in an August program in the White Mountains and on one July trail crew and two August crews working on projects in western Maine. July 21 to 27 features an all-girl backcountry trail crew in the White Mountains.
From late July to late August, spaces are available on teen crews doing trail work on Mount Cardigan. Opportunities are also available in the Berkshires and the Maine woods.
For teens seeking to learn or develop such outdoor skills as backpacking, whitewater paddling or Wilderness First Aid, AMC's Teen Wilderness Adventures may fit the bill. Open programs include a 5-day, hut-based hiking program; a 12-day multisport adventure that combines hiking, backpacking, mountaineering and whitewater paddling, and an 8-day Wilderness First Aid and Rescue course, designed to provide certification in Wilderness First Aid and CPR.
Details, including program schedules and age ranges for participants, are available by clicking on "Teen Programs" under the "Get Outdoors" pull-down menu at outdoors.org.
Rob Burbank is the director of media and public affairs for the Appalachian Mountain Club in Pinkham Notch. His column appears monthly.