Star light, star bright · Explore the night sky

Stars, planets, nebula and meteors are ever present in the universe. Unseen during the day for the most part, and in many parts of the world, unseen even at night. Or, perhaps you catch a glimpse of Saturn or Mars, and see the brightest stars in the sky. Then, you come to Tahoe on vacation or to spend a lifetime and suddenly the universe opens before you.

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Moon | Mael Passanesi

One of the many great miracles of the mountains is the relative lack of man-made light that obscures the wonders of the universe for many. In Tahoe, you can experience the vastness of the universe with the naked eye, even marveling at the edge of the Milky Way as it swoops across the sky. Tahoe is also a prime spot for peering deeper into the universe with the knowledgeable team at Tahoe Star Tours.

Led by star guide and poet Tony Berendsen, Tahoe Star Tours invites kids and adults to become star guides. Berendsen’s passion for astronomy, poetry, education and outreach are apparent during his tours, as is his mission to introduce the wonders of the universe to everyone.

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Tony | Tahoe Star Tours 

I’ve been fortunate enough to enjoy a star tours at least six times throughout the years, and this summer, Berendsen invited me to bring the Tahoe Weekly staff out for a star tour at Northstar. The star tours involve far more than peering through telescopes. Berendsen begins each outing around the fire pits and while guests enjoy s’mores and hot chocolate, he draws you into the universe. With an interesting mixture of facts about the stars and some of the astronomers that helped unveil the mysteries of the universe, along with his moving poetry, Berendsen makes the universe accessible and easy to understand. His star storytelling is inviting and captivating; his passion is palpable.

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Mael Passanesi

Now that you’re rapt with newfound wonder, it’s time to move to the telescopes and peer deep into space. No matter how many times I’ve been on a star tour, I’m always taken by the vastness of the universe, the brilliant colors of the planets, the rings of Saturn, the crystal-clear craters of the moon. The team at Tahoe Star Tours overflows with knowledge as guests pepper them with questions on planets and meteors and the constellations. As the night deepened, we only became more enthralled with learning the secrets of the universe, not wanting to end our adventure. That’s why I go back to enjoy the star tours again and again, yearning to learn even more of the mysteries of the universe.

Tahoe Star Tours offers tours at Northstar through Labor Day weekend, and returns to Tahoe each winter to offer star tours at various locations. They are also available for private events.

For more information or to purchase tickets, visit tahoestartours.com.

Thursdays & Saturdays until Sept. 3
8:15-10:30 p.m. | $35 adults | $20 12 & younger
Dark Skies Cosmoarium | Northstar

Fridays until Sept. 2
8:15-10:30 p.m. | $35 adults | $20 12 & younger
Ritz-Carlton Lake Tahoe | Northstar


Cinders

Out there the night sky

So many stars

At first glance

Only flickered light

But at closer look

An unaccountable vision

Seen by billions

From a planet

A cinder of stars

Floating

In a soup of desolation

Punished

By light years of isolation

Tony Berendsen

 

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Katherine Hill

Katherine first moved to Tahoe in 1998 and has been in love with the Tahoe-Truckee region ever since. She has been in the journalism field for more than 25 years and has worked for daily and weekly newspapers and magazines, as well as online publications, as an award-winning writer and editor. In the fall of 2013, Katherine became only the third owner of the 33-year-old publication, and today serves as its Publisher and Editor In Chief. Life in Tahoe is an amazing place to live, and she enjoys hiking and water sports in the summer, and cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and sledding with her nephew, Anikin.