We have a remarkable dark sky! Being at 8,700 feet in elevation, the atmosphere is thin, providing clear skies and relatively no light pollution. In 2007, we began a plan to make astronomy officially part of our educational program. The perfect location on our property for an Astronomy Pad along with designs for a building that would protect the equipment when not in use were in the planning stages.
We had a fledgling but beloved program until 2013 when two volunteers, Mark Cunningham and Larry Porter, both passionate astronomers, brought their university grade telescopes and were able to give tours every night, weather permitting.
In 2014, a site was selected for a permanent astronomy pad and in 2015 excavation was begun. Popularity of the program soared. In 2016, the next phase was completed when we poured the telescope pad, built the movable protection hut and installed the initial computer and electrical rough-ins.
This summer we plan to bring the project to completion by installing a new telescope. The equipment we are raising funds for is university grade, used by professionals, colleges & universities, astronomy students and hobbyists, easily operated by our volunteer hosts and would offer the best possible viewing experience available. In addition, a camera package will allow viewers to photograph what they see, providing a rare opportunity. Our project goals are to improve and expand an established astronomy program, providing access to high quality equipment and astronomers.
A fundraising campaign is underway to help finance this project! We are trying to raise $10,000 dollars from our membership. Any donation is greatly appreciated and will go towards your membership benefits. For those that are so inspired, we have additional benefits: For a $500 donation, you will receive a set of cards of photos taken from the new telescope. For a $1,000 donation, you will receive the cards and your name inscribed on a brass plaque to be displayed at the Astronomy Pad. Both high dollar donor levels will be invited to a telescope unveiling party with wine and hors d'oeuvres and will include a day pass for the hot springs.
Please call the office or go to our secure online page to make your donation!
Members Appreciation Weekend (MAW) Silent Auction - Fundraiser for the Telescope Project
The silent auction during MAW will be dedicated to the telescope campaign this year. We are looking for volunteers to donate items, help with setup and cleanup. Donating items is a fun way to contribute. These donations can be services, gift certificates, or something you have made. It's a great way to share something special with the OLT community. Call the front desk to let us know what you can contribute. Your items can be dropped off at the office before MAW or when you arrive. You don't have to attend to contribute. To sign up to volunteer or ask questions, email . Get creative and step up to supporting our telescope campaign.