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Goldendale Observatory reopening to public April 24 with limited schedule

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The newly renovated Goldendale Observatory State Park Heritage Site will reopen on April 24 with a limited schedule.

To comply with the state’s Phase 3 order, Washington State Parks will reopen the observatory at reduced capacity. The free observatory programs will take place from 2 to 4 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays only. Visitors must register online for the programs, according to a news release.

The observatory won’t open for drop-in visitors, and staff will not offer private tours. State Parks will not be able to schedule visits outside the Saturday and Sunday program dates.

During Phase 3, visitors will not have access to evening viewing through the main telescope.

Afternoon programming will include the opportunity to tour the newly upgraded facility. Registered participants will be able to view the sun through the observatory’s solar telescopes.

The current observatory schedule is temporary and expected to change. For updates and schedule changes, check the park’s web page; sign up to get email park alerts; or check Parks’ social media: Twitter (@WaStatePks) or Facebook (@WashingtonStateParks).

The observatory, 2 miles north of Goldendale, houses one of the world’s largest publicly accessible permanently mounted telescopes. Last year, State Parks completed work on an extensive multi-year renovation of the observatory and grounds.

Work included converting the old Cassegrain telescope to a Newtonian telescope by replacing the telescope’s original mirror with a new 24.5-inch mirror. The site also includes a new building with a 140-person capacity auditorium.

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