Thursday, February 10, 2005

The night sky

I started taking an online astronomy class, just for fun and it is fun (also free!). The course has just started and you can see the first two archived classes if you want although they are mostly just an introduction for the next several weeks of class.

Following the suggestion to look at (don't worry- no connection to Heaven's-gate), I found that many Korean cities are listed- mine (Sokcho) among them. Now, I'm not sure about light pollution here and recently nights have been cloudy so I'll have to wait a bit before putting what I learn into practice but it looks interesting. If anyone is reading this in rural Alaska (Yes, I'm talking to you, Marci), they would be in a great position to see a great deal.

Although Sok-cho might not be the best place in Korea to see the stars, Gangwon in general might be. By wonderful coincidence, I found a Korea Herald article for an observatory in Yeongwol.

Yeungwol is more famous among foreigners for ripple-water rafting - too tame to properly be called 'white-water' but still an enjoyable way to spend a day in the summer. The article says that most of their visitors come during the summer but winter is a better time to see things.

Because the Herald archives it's articles after only a few days, I will post here some of the travel information:

A 20-minute taxi ride from Yeongwol Train Station
will get you to the top of Bongraesan Mountain where
you can experience the clouds beneath your feet.
Byeolmaro Astronomical Observatory, refering to a
"quiet hillsidewhere one can see the stars," is located
right on the top of the mountainis a clean and quiet
place that offers a clear view of the sky.

There are no buses that go to the top of the mountain so it's taxi or hike (no information given for hiking, other than you can do it) or drive.

Detailed Information
Hours: March ~ October >> 3pm ~ 11pm (Admission by 9:30pm)
December ~ February >> 2pm ~ 10pm (Admission by 8:30pm)
Closed: Every Monday/ Day after an Official Holiday/ Chuseok/ Seolnal
Admission Fee: Adult (19 or older): 5,000 won/ Children (6 ~ 18): 4,000 won
Contact: 033- 374 - 7460 (Korean/ Tuesday ~ Sunday Only during Business Hour
Tourist Information: 033-1330 (English/ Japanese/ Chinese)

If you want to watch the astronomy lectures as I am, look here.

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