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Milky Way Meadows is a lush alpine meadow located near Mammoth Lakes in central California.
With the nearby Glass Mountains forming an impenetrable shield against light pollution, it is one of the darkest sites in the USA. Even veteran sky watchers are stunned when they see the Milky Way and its great rift of dust shining down over this pristine site.
We are developing Milky Way Meadows as a laboratory for dark sky astronomy and outdoor STEM education.
Summertime activities in 2021 include:
Astrophotography and Landscape Photography Tours
Astrophotography tours for novice astronomers: Attendees will learn to photograph rare phenomena such as airglow, Zodiacal light, and shadows of Venus, which are impossible to capture from urban areas but routine at Milky Way Meadows. Other photo-ops include Moon-Venus conjunctions and meteor showers.
In the daytime, the Meadows provides wildlife and springs scenery. The surrounding area provides spectacular mountain and high-desert landscapes.
The Perseid Meteor Shower, Like You've Never Heard it Before
When the Perseid Meteor Shower peaks in August, we'll be hosting an invitation-only star party to experience the display in a new way. Not only will we watch and photograph Perseids disintegrating overhead, but also we will "sonify" the shower for visually impaired guests. As the shower unfolds in realtime, a string band will play what they see in the sky using techniques we've developed to convert meteor colors and speeds into music. If it works, we'll invite members of the public to experience the "Perseid Orchestra" in 2022.
A Meadows Revival
Parts of Milky Way Meadows have been grazed by cattle for decades. Grazing will be coming to an end, setting the stage for an experiment in ecological restoration. Automated cameras and other test points around the 280-acre property will document what comes back when grazing stops. We expect to see rare species of plants, displaced wildlife, and long absent birds returning. Meanwhile, the microbial population of ponds and streams on the property will probably change, reverting to a more natural state. We hope to measure it all and ultimately invite students and researchers to join us.
Visit us under dark skies
What Our Visitors Say
"Watterson Meadow is one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen with exquisitely dark skies at night. The Milky Way is breathtaking."
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