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Telescope at Moreau Lake State Park

A new digital telescope has been installed on the beach at Moreau Lake State Park. When it is operational later this summer, it will be hooked to a projector so that visitors can see the stars on a huge screen on the beach at night. It will be operated by volunteer astronomers twice a month.

MOREAU — A new telescope will soon bring the stars closer to campers at Moreau Lake State Park.

The park used proceeds from the sale of firewood and ice to buy a digital telescope and build an observatory deck on the beach.

Now volunteers are learning to use the software that connects the telescope to a laptop, so they can control it

The images will be projected onto a giant, inflatable screen on the beach twice a month.

“Then people can see without lining up,” said park supervisor Alan Trepper. “Volunteer astronomers will be there to explain what we’re looking at.”

He’s hoping to run stargazing programs twice a month, beginning later this summer. One event would take place after the monthly full moon hike, while another would be when the moon is new. That’s when the moon is least bright, which allows viewers to better see other objects in the sky.

Trepper isn’t certain when the telescope will be operational. He is hoping for July. It will be sometime this summer, he said.

“We will post it, up on our Facebook, when it’s ready to go,” he added.

He’s envisioning visitors bringing folding chairs or blankets to sit on the beach and watch, perhaps from 9 to 11 p.m.

“I know some people want to go later. That’s kind of our dilemma,” he said. “We want to be there later, but we have to be there early in the morning.”

Only park staff and the volunteer astronomers will control the telescope. The observatory deck will be kept locked when not being used.

If it is popular, the park could expand the deck in the future. Right now, the deck slides open to allow 180 degrees of viewing. A platform could extend that view to 360 degrees because the dome lid could be completely removed, he said.

The entire system cost about $5,000.

Telescope at Moreau Lake State Park

Moreau Lake State Park supervisor Alan Trepper stands in the personal observatory deck built on the beach at the park. A digital telescope, controlled by computer, will be used to show visitors the stars on select nights. It will be operational later this summer. Right now astronomers are working to sync the software with the digital mount for the telescope, seen here attached to the tripod.

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You can reach Kathleen Moore at 742-3247 or kmoore@poststar.com. Follow her on Twitter @ByKathleenMoore or at her blog on www.poststar.com

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reporter - Health care, Moreau, Queensbury, South Glens Falls

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