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PORT ANGELES — For the fifth consecutive summer, John Goar is leading a free astronomy program with telescopes at Hurricane Ridge, 17 miles up a paved road from Port Angeles in Olympic National Park.
There are also evening hikes for stargazers tonight, Saturday night and Sunday night and in August.
Known as the park's volunteer “astro-VIP,” Goar is a math and science teacher in Kingston and a member of the Bremerton-based Olympic Astronomical Society. He is certified by the U.S. Astronomical League as a Master Observer.
Using the telescopes, he plans to show participants the planet Saturn and its moons, other planets and stars, globular star cluster M13, the Ring Nebula and the Andromeda Galaxy.
The programs last about an hour.
Meet Goar at the Ridge's visitor center nightly on these dates and times:
■ This coming Thursday, July 17, through Wednesday, July 23, 10:45 p.m.
■ Thursday, July 24, through Wednesday, July 30, 10:30 p.m.
■ Thursday, Aug. 14, through Wednesday, Aug. 20, 9:45 p.m.
■ Thursday, Aug. 21, through Friday, Aug. 29, 9:30 p.m.
The viewings on July 26 and Aug. 23 will include a “star party” by Olympic Astronomical Society members who will be happy for the public to look through their telescopes.
No program if cloudy
If skies are cloudy, Goar's program will be canceled.
For program status, phone the Hurricane Ridge Road hotline at 360-565-3131 after 4 p.m. the day of the program.
“Dress warmly,” says Goar, noting that the visitor center is situated at 5,242 feet.
Full moon hikes
In addition, you can explore the summer night with Goar with his “Full Moon Hikes” to Hurricane Hill.
The hikes, which are 3 miles round trip, will depart from the Hurricane Hill trailhead, 1.5 miles past the Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center, at 9 p.m. tonight (Friday, July 11), Saturday and Sunday and at 8:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 9, and Sunday, Aug. 10.
“Please wear sturdy shoes,” says Goar. “A constellation tour will occur at the top of Hurricane Hill.”
Like the telescope programs, the hikes will be canceled if it is cloudy. Check the hotline after 4 p.m. the day of the hike.
For more information, visit www.olympictelescope.com.