Star Party at the Temple of Garni
*This is a developing story...
The 1st Century AD Temple of Garni, a World Heritage Site during the site inspection.
When Explore Scientific was invited to attend the world-famous STARMUS event to take place in 2021, people around the world were still restricted by the pandemic. But by early this year, it was clear that the sixth event would go forward in the country of Armenia. and we accepted to provide the telescopes for their first-ever star party event.
Located between Asia and Europe in the mountainous region of the Caucasus, the Republic of Armenia was part of the former Soviet republic with ancient wonders and a rich heritage of science. The capital city of Yerevan is at an average elevation of nearly 6000 feet often with clear weather from June to October, giving Armenia very favorable conditions for amateur astronomy.
Its capital city of Yerevan has been continuously inhabited for nearly 3000 years and today nearly a third of the country's 3 million citizens call Yerevan their home. It is a friendly and safe city with some exemplary examples of Soviet-era architecture and a thriving city center with amazing restaurants and nightlife.
Historically, Armenia is considered one of the earliest Christian civilizations, and is home to ancient religious sites including the Greco-Roman Temple of Garni. It is there that Explore Scientific set up our Truss Tube Dobsonians for the participants of the STARMUS Star Party, which was attended by rock stars, scientists, astronauts, and astronomers. For most most of us it was a most unusual experience to watch the Moon rise over the mountains, illuminating the columns of the temple
But bringing equipment into other countries always creates some challenges. The overall distance from Explore Scientific's warehouse to Yerevan is about 6500 miles (just over a third of the circumference of the Earth), and then there is a winding and bumpy road to travel to Garni itself.
Once in the village of Garni we were met with friendly shopkeepers offering fresh breads, dried fruits, cold drinks, and lots of souvenirs. We expect hundreds of enthusiasts who will be there partake of the local offerings and enjoy the stars in this ancient setting.
As in preparing for any star party, it's a good idea to go there first and do a site inspection so that you can plan where to set up your gear. Once there you can double check for other needed services such as electrical power, the ability to turn off outdoor lighting, making bathrooms available nearby, etc.
The Star Party was unlike any other with amazing live music performed in front of the ancient Pagan temple, and telescopes provided from Explore Scientific and Scope Shop who has become Armenia's first telescope shop to offer Explore Scientific instruments.
Our international star party team included volunteers from Canada, the Philippines, Armenia, and the United States including Karim & Karima Jaffer, and their daughter Tara (John Abbott College and the RASC), Ian Maclennan (Designer of Science Installations; Maclennan Consulting), Normand Fullum (Telescope Designer; Fullum Optique), Gary Goble (Amateur Astronomer; Explore Alliance), Christopher Go (Explore Alliance; Renowned Astrophotographer), Vachik (Spaceshop) and Scott Roberts (Explore Scientific).
Location of the Garni Temple
GPS coordinates of Temple of Garni, Armenia. Latitude: 40.1120 Longitude: 44.7290.
Our goal is to show you progressively more distant objects in the sky. But because the Moon is the brightest object in the sky, you might want to save it for last.
Updated Sept 11th, 2022