Tourism - Sky and Stars
Nevada is well known for its clear, dark skies, and has many astronomical links. Here are two of particular interest:
Fleischmann Planetarium and Science Center
The Fleischmann Planetarium and Science Center is part of the University of Nevada, Reno and Extended Studies. It offers public star shows as well as public star observing courtesy of the Astronomical Society of Nevada. Built in 1964 and originally called the "Fleischmann Atmospherium-Planetarium," it was the first planetarium in the world to project full-dome movies of time-lapse clouds and weather phenomena.
Following recent upgrades, the Planetarium is one of the first in the world to utilize the Spitz SciDome digital projector, a high-resolution, state-of-the-art immersive visualization tool that produces extraordinarily bright and colorful 3-D images.
The Fleischmann also has an ongoing program of free exhibits. The 2011 displays will be decided nearer the time, but as we enter 2009 the displays include meterorite exhibits, images from space, a special exhibition on perception, and astronomically-inspired art by Tahoe artist Marianna Lucido.
We are already in direct contact with the University and hope to develop close links to benefit both our members and the Planetarium.
"From the heavens above to the depths of the earth."
Tonopah is located in central Nevada, 240 miles from Reno, making this either a very long day trip or, more likely, an overnight. Its remoteness is a plus for astronomy buffs as the low level of light pollution means the town has some of the darkest skies in the world, allowing wonderful viewing of the Milky Way.
Observers with good sight can see magnitudes as faint as +6.5 or +7.0, bringing up to 7,000 stars into view, compared to just a few dozen in the average city and a few hundred in the average suburban or rural location. For those who don't want to make the full trip, travelling just 40-50 miles from Reno will reveal a much darker sky than you can see almost anywhere else in the US.
- Stargazing at Tonopah Star Trails
- Tonopah Springs was an Indian campground before the discovery of a significant silver lode in May, 1900.
At the Tonopah Historic Mining Park
one can walk down a mine tunnel at the end of which is a steel viewing cage with a view down a 500 foot
- A more complete history of Tonopah and its mining story can be found here.
- the Central Nevada Museum
- the nearby
Lunar Crater Volcanic Field. (For a scientist's personal description, also check out this site.)
- Tonopah Astronomical Society