WEEKEND: Evening hikes for stargazers slated Saturday, Sunday on Hurricane Ridge

PORT ANGELES — Explore the star-filled summer sky with free evening hikes this weekend.

Led by John Goar of the Olympic Astronomical Society, these “Full Moon Hikes,” which are 3 miles round trip, will depart from the Hurricane Hill trailhead, 1.5 miles past the Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center, at 8:30 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday.

The Ridge’s visitor center is 17 miles up Hurricane Ridge Road from Port Angeles in Olympic National Park.

Full moon

This month’s full moon falls on Sunday. This full moon is not only the largest full moon of the year — the best of the so-called “supermoons” — it also presents the moon’s closest encounter with Earth for all of 2014.

“Please wear sturdy shoes,” said Goar. “A constellation tour will occur at the top of Hurricane Hill.”

Goar’s hikes will be canceled if skies are cloudy.

To check the status, phone the Hurricane Ridge Road hotline at 360-565-3131 after 4 p.m. the day of the hike.

Goar is continuing for two more weeks his free astronomy programs with telescopes at Hurricane Ridge, one of the best light-restricted “dark sky” sites on the Peninsula.

The stars-and-planets programs last about an hour.

Meet Goar at the visitor center on these dates and times:

■ Thursday night, Aug. 14, and nightly through Wednesday night, Aug. 20, 9:45 p.m.

■ Thursday night, Aug. 21, and nightly through Friday night, Aug. 29, 9:30 p.m.

With participants using his telescopes, Goar shows Saturn and its moons, other planets and stars, globular star cluster M13, the Ring Nebula and the Andromeda Galaxy.

The viewings at the Ridge on Saturday, Aug. 23, will include a “star party” by Olympic Astronomical Society members, “who will be happy for the public to look through their telescopes,” Goar said.

Like the hikes, Goar’s programs are canceled if skies are cloudy. Check the hotline after 4 p.m. the day of the program.

“Dress warmly,” said Goar, noting that the visitor center is at 5,242 feet.

For more information, visit www.olympictelescope.com.

Last modified: August 07. 2014 5:22PM
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