Gorky Park public observatory marks 60 years of free tours

Gorky Park public observatory marks 60 years of free tours
The anniversary season at the observatory opens on 12 April. All entertainment will be free all day.

On 12 April, Gorky Park opens a new season at its public observatory. Closed during autumn and winter, the observatory opens to the public on Cosmonautics Day.

Mosgorpark reports that this year the public observatory marks its 60th anniversary. On Cosmonautics Day, between 3 pm and 11 pm, the anniversary season will open with tours, quests, lectures and other events. Admission will be free all day.

“A Gorky Park astronomer will explain how the observatory works, why it requires a round dome and which celestial bodies can be seen from the park,” Mosgorpark spokesperson commented.

During the tour titled Extraterrestrial Horizons, Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow, visitors will learn how Gorky Park’s activity is related to space, where Russia’s first air flight took place and why the Buran space shuttle once landed on the Pushkinskaya Embankment.

Lectures will introduce attendees to constellations and planets in the sky and take them through the history of celestial studies since ancient times. Visitors can participate in a quest and solve puzzles that the first balloonists might have needed and decipher radio signals from remote places in the Universe.

The band Artek Elektronika will play their ‘cosmic’ music on the lawn outside the observatory. The show will start at 9 pm.

The public observatory was built at the park in 1957. Before that in the 1930s, the site was used as an astronomical observation point. For over 20 years, the observatory was closed for visits but in September 2012 it reopened to the public. These days, the observatory has two powerful telescopes and an automated collapsible dome.

On 12 April, Gorky Park will launch a photo exhibition by the the Roscosmos State Corporation for Space Activities about life on the International Space Station (ISS). The photographs were taken by Russian cosmonauts during missions to the ISS. They capture spectacular space sights, funny episodes and everyday life at the space station.

Another venue for space photography will be Lianozovsky Park. On Saturday April 15, between 2 pm and 3 pm, the park’s main stage will display satellite images taken 400 kilometers away during the winter. The broadcast will round up the Winter, You Are Space joint exhibition with Roscosmos that ran at Lianozovsky Park this winter.

Cosmonautics Day will be celebrated at other green areas. On 12 April, if the weather allows, visitors at Kuzminki Park will be able to observe stars in a telescope. Urania Astronomy Society will welcome visitors on the park’s main square at 9 pm.

Also on 12 April, the guard of honour will be on duty between 10 am and 4 pm at the Eternal Flame at Victory Park on Poklonnaya Hill.