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  • Far Out! Stargazing in Southern Virginia
    Posted by Jennifer Michels 6:36 PM on Aug 28, 2009

    There’s a new venue in the Blue Ridge Mountains for those seeking other galaxies that just might help to convince the youth of America that a career in space is, you know, really cool —an observatory opening today at Primland Resort.

    The resort in Meadows of Dan, Va., which is located about three miles north of the North Carolina border, has long been known for its quail and pheasant hunting, golfing, sporting clays and other outdoor sports.  Today it opens a new luxury lodge that features a silo attached housing a Celestron CGE Pro 1400 telescope.

    Photo by Primland
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    A cool feature of the lodge is an 18-seat theater (think leather Barcaloungers) where images taken from the telescope’s digital camera will be shown on a movie screen as a slideshow.

    If that doesn’t get young people interested in space, take them up to the dome and watch it open automatically as young Nathan controls the Sky6 software to synchronize the telescope and the dome to track stars. They might be impressed with the signs along the dome that say Warning 240 Volts! I was.

    Photo by Primland
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    Below is an image taken of the Globular Cluster in the constellation Hercules, 25,100 light years away.
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    The equipment was installed by The Starizona Company, run by Dean Koenig and his brother Kris, of Interstellar Studios. Kris had produced documentaries and one is now airing on PBS to celebrate the International Year of the Telescope—with 2009 being the 400th anniversary of Galileo’s first stargazing apparatus.

    Below is an image of the Andromeda Galaxy, said to be 2.5 million light-years away, and is the closest galaxy to the Earth.
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    If that doesn’t grab them, maybe finding out that young Nathan was flipping burgers until he read an ad in the paper seeking someone who is technology-savvy, will. An interest in astronomy was considered a plus. As it turns out, Nathan was a total space geek in high school, and is intimately familiar with constellations. He is responsible for the images in this blog, now the property of Primland.

    Below is the Whirlpool Galaxy, in the constellation Canes Venatici, just 23 million light-years (but who’s counting) away from Earth.

    blog post photo

    Tags: OS99, Primland, Telescope, Virginia

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