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Astronomy: The Universe and Beyond

Program Number: 5178RJ
Start and End Dates:
4/20/2014 - 4/25/2014; 11/16/2014 - 11/21/2014; 11/1/2015 - 11/6/2015;
Duration: 5 nights
Location: Pembroke, Virginia
Price starting at: $745.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Science & Nature; Natural History
Meals: 14; 5 Breakfasts, 4 Lunches, 5 Dinners    
Meal Options: Gluten Free; Low Salt; Low Fat; Vegetarian    

Investigate the planets, the Sun, the Moon and the stars plus black holes, the Big Bang theory, radio astronomy and more with a team of scientists from three Virginia universities and astronomers from the Green Bank Observatory. This beautiful setting far removed from city lights is the perfect place to turn to the sky and unravel the mysteries of the universe.




Highlights

• Use telescopes to view the Sun by day and the stars and galaxies by night (weather permitting, of course).
• Astronomers and scientists share the latest in cutting-edge astronomy research.
• Enjoy the grounds of the Mountain Lake Hotel in your free time; take a nature walk, play lawn games or tennis or choose from many more activities.



Activity Particulars

Minimal walking and standing on this program. No experience required.



Coordinated by The Mountain Lake Conservancy.




Pembroke

Situated at an elevation of 4,000 feet in the Southern Appalachian Mountains, Pembroke encompasses 2,600 peaceful wooded acres that surround the only natural lake in the region, which is also home to rural Appalachian culture and traditions.



Accommodations
Resort accommodations in cottages or historic hotel overlooking the highest natural lake east of the Mississippi River; famous as the site in the movie "Dirty Dancing."
Meals and Lodgings
   Mountain Lake Lodge
  Pembroke, VA 6 nights
 Mountain Lake Lodge
Type: Hotel
  Description: Discover the ultimate outdoor retreat in the heart of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains, part of the Appalachian Mountain Range and the center of the 2,600 acre Mountain Lake Conservancy. Mountain Lake Lodge is the ideal place for families, friends, couples and groups to recreate and relax amidst nature’s bounty. Arrive to an unhurried pace in a place faithful to the outdoors, where friendly service prevails. Please visit www.MtnLakeLodge.com for more information!
  Contact info: 115 Hotel Circle
Pembroke, VA 24136 USA
phone: 540-626-7121
web: www.MtnLakeLodge.com
  Room amenities: Newly renovated rooms! Private bathroom, coffee, coffee machine. The rooms are equipped with hairdryer and basic commodities. Our buildings are not air conditioned as this is not necessary with the elevation and cooler temperatures. Rooms are equipped with ceiling fans and additional window fan units.
  Facility amenities: New Harvest Restaurant; Stony Creek Tavern and Lounge; Mountain Lake Outfitters with equipment rentals, retail and daily guided activities; New Treetops Aerial Adventure Course at Salt Pond Stables; Mary's Barn (billiards, ping pong, foosball, arcade games); Outdoor swimming pool (seasonal) & snack bar; Tennis court; lawn games (volleyball, badminton, tether ball, croquet, oversize lawn chess/checkers); Over 20 miles of multi-use trails; canoeing & kayaking, fishing, water-dependent.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Additional nights prior: Begin at $99 Price varies with season and holidays. A variety of lodge and cottage accommodations are available.
  Check in time: 4:00 PM
  Additional nights after: Begin at $99 Price varies with season and holidays. A variety of lodge and cottage accommodations are available.
  Check out time: 10:30 AM


Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Check in at the Lodge Lobby between 4 and 5 p.m. You will be staying at Mountain Lake Lodge that night.
  End of Program:
Program ends with check-out from the Mountain Lake Lodge by 11:00 am. You will be staying at Mountain Lake Lodge the night before.
  Required documents:
The Road Scholar Health & Safety Form is required.
  Parking availability:
Mountain Lake Lodge is on private property and adequate, free parking is available to all guests.
Transportation
To Start of Program
  Location:  Pembroke, VA
  Nearest city or town:  Pembroke
  Nearest highway: Rt. 460
  Nearest airport:  Roanoke Regional
  From End of Program
  Location: Pembroke, VA
    (Additional transportation information same as above)
Travel Details
 

Mountain Lake, Pembroke, VA

 

From Airport

 
 

Service:

 

Hotel Shuttle
Mountain Lake Lodge Shuttle
phone: 540-626-7121
Advanced Reservations Required

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

$90.00
Prices are subject to change.

 

Travel Time:

 

1 hour 

 

Distance:

 

56 miles

   

MUST RESERVE THROUGH MTN LAKE AT LEAST ONE WEEK IN ADVANCE - MUST CONFIRM SHUTTLE RESERVATION WITH JESSICA ZIELSKE. Only one departure from the airport to the lodge. Shuttle will pick-up at Roanoke Regional Airport at 1:30pm to depart no later than 2:00pm. Shuttle will arrive at the Mountain Lake Conservancy & Lodge by 3:15pm. (Note: Shuttle is only for Road Scholar Participants. Please indicate you are a member of a RS program when calling.)

 

Mountain Lake, Pembroke, VA

 

To Airport

 
 

Service:

 

Hotel Shuttle
Mountain Lake Lodge Shuttle
phone: 540-626-7121
Advanced Reservations Required

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

$90.00
Prices are subject to change.

 

Travel Time:

 

1 hour 

 

Distance:

 

56 miles

   

MUST RESERVE THROUGH MTN LAKE AT LEAST ONE WEEK IN ADVANCE. Only one departure from the hotel to the airport. Shuttle will depart the Mountain Lake Conservancy & Lodge at 11:00 am to arrive at the Roanoke Airport by 12:30 pm.

 

Mountain Lake, VA

 

To Airport

 
 

Service:

 

Taxi
Roanoke Airport Transportation Service
phone: 800-288-1958
Advanced Reservations Required

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

$109.00
Prices are subject to change.

 

Travel Time:

 

1.5 hours 

 

Distance:

 

56 miles

 

Roanoke, VA

 

From Airport

 
 

Service:

 

Taxi
Roanoke Airport Transportation Service
phone: 800-288-1958
Advanced Reservations Required

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

$109.00
Prices are subject to change.

 

Travel Time:

 

1.5 hours 

 

Distance:

 

56 miles

 
Driving Directions
  From I-77 Take US 460 East at Princeton to left on Route 700 (Mountain Lake Road). Follow Route 700 for seven miles up the mountain to Mountain Lake.
  From I-81 Take exit 118B, Christiansburg. Follow US 460 West, including bypass around Blacksburg to right on Route 700 (Mountain Lake Road). Follow Route 700 for seven miles up the mountain to Mountain Lake.
Elevation Note: The Mountain Lake Conservancy is located at 3800 feet above sea level in Southwest Virginia.

Equipment Requirements: Sturdy walking shoes are recommended for walks around the property. The weather can be unpredictable, so a raincoat is also recommended. Nights can be cooler than the surrounding valleys. Property is hilly and you must be able to walk up and down hills and stairs throughout the week.
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.


Daily Schedule

Day 1: Upon your arrival and check-in to Mountain Lake, join for a wine and cheese mixer to meet fellow Road Scholars. Enjoy dinner in Harvest Restaurant, and a brief orientation to prepare you for the week's learning adventure!
(Sunday, April 20)
   
 Afternoon: 4:00-5:00 pm - Program registration in the lodge lobby. 5:00-6:00 pm - Enjoy a wine and cheese meet and greet with fellow participants in Stony Creek Tavern.
 Dinner: 6:00 pm - Buffet dinner in the Harvest Restaurant.
 Evening: 7:30 pm - Orientation session in the meeting room.
   
Accommodations: Mountain Lake Lodge
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Start the week's program with a day of introductory sessions to astronomy and planets. Join in the optional trip to SELU Observatory at Radford University, or relax and enjoy a free evening of the program.
(Monday, April 21)

Note: The trip to SELU Observatory is optional due to the narrow, spiral staircase that must be ascended to reach the observation deck. Transportation is provided, one way drive is approximately 50 minutes to Radford, VA.



   
 Breakfast: 7:30-9:00 am - Buffet breakfast in Harvest Restaurant.
 Morning: 9:00 - 11:30 am - Astronomy and Planets 101 with Jack Brockway.
 Lunch: 12:00 pm - Lunch in Harvest Restaurant.
 Afternoon: 1:30-3:00 pm - Planets 101 continued with Jack Brockway.
 Dinner: 5:30 pm - Dinner in Harvest Restaurant.
 Evening: 6:30 pm - Depart for SELU Observatory in Radford, VA, or relax and enjoy a free evening at the Lodge.
   
Accommodations: Mountain Lake Lodge
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: "Explore the Radio Universe" in the morning and then engage in conversation about "Galaxies, Building Blocks for Astrophysical Understanding" in the afternoon. Stargazing in the evening at Mountain Lake with Roanoke's Mobile Astronomy Outreach.
(Tuesday, April 22)
   
 Breakfast: 7:30-9:00am - Buffet breakfast available in Harvest Restaurant.
 Morning: 9:00-11:30 am - "Exploring the Radio Universe" with Sue Ann Heatherly from the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in Green Bank, WV.
 Lunch: 12:00 pm - Lunch in Harvest Restaurant.
 Afternoon: 1:30-4:00 pm - "Galaxies, Building Block for Astrophysical Understanding" with Matt Fleenor.
 Dinner: 5:30 pm - Dinner in Harvest Restaurant.
 Evening: 7:00 pm - Stargazing on the front lawn of Mountain Lake Lodge with Roanoke Mobile Astronomy Outreach.
   
Accommodations: Mountain Lake Lodge
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Morning classroom session includes "Telescopes 101 & Meteorites" with Roanoke Mobile Astronomy Outreach. Enjoy a free afternoon of the program to relax or explore the grounds and local communities. Stargazing this evening at the lodge.
(Wednesday, April 23)
   
 Breakfast: 7:30-9:00 am - Buffet breakfast available in Harvest Restaurant.
 Morning: 9:00 - 11:30 am - Session on Telescopes 101 and Meteorites with Mike Overacker.
 Lunch: 12:00 pm - Lunch in Harvest Restaurant.
 Afternoon: Free afternoon. Enjoy activities offered at the Mountain Lake Conservancy & Lodge, or explore the New River Valley area on your own.
 Dinner: 5:30 pm - Dinner in Harvest Restaurant.
 Evening: 7:00 pm - Sky Observation on the front lawn with Mike Overacker.
   
Accommodations: Mountain Lake Lodge
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Expand upon all that you've learned in the week with the day's complex subjects of "The Life of Stars" and "The Interstellar Medium". Gain a sense for the region's ecological night life with the evening presentation "Songs of the Night".
(Thursday, April 24)
   
 Breakfast: 7:30-9:00 am - Buffet breakfast available in Harvest Restaurant.
 Morning: 9:00-11:30 am - Session on "Birth, Life and Death of Stars" with Radford University professor, Jack Brockway.
 Lunch: 12:00 pm - Lunch in Harvest Restaurant.
 Afternoon: 1:30 - 4:00 pm - Session on "The Interstellar Medium" with Virginia Tech professor Phil Nelson.
 Dinner: 5:30 pm - Dinner in Harvest Restaurant.
 Evening: 7:30 pm - Evening presentation "Songs of the Night" with Jerry Via, expert ecologist and ornithologist. Become familiar with some of the fascinating nocturnal creatures that you may encounter during your stargazing in Appalachia.
   
Accommodations: Mountain Lake Lodge
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Wrap up the week's program with a brief closing gathering. Check out from the lodge is 11:00 am.
(Friday, April 25)
   
 Breakfast: 7:30-9:00 am - Buffet breakfast in Harvest Restaurant.
 Morning: 9:00 am - A brief program wrap up and closing. Farewell and safe travels!
 Morning: Check out of Lodge by 11:00 am.
   
Accommodations: Mountain Lake Lodge
Meals Included: Breakfast
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List


Astronomy: A Beginner's Guide to the Universe, 4th Edition


Author: Chaisson and McMillan


Description: For one-semester Introduction to Astronomy courses.The authors incorporate three themes in the briefer of their two textbooks; process of science (how we know what we know), the size and scale of the universe as well as the evolution of the universe. A Beginner's Guide emphasizes critical thinking and visualization, and a leading-edge technology program. Customer review: "For anyone who has a vague interest in astronomy, this would be the book to read. Albeit not entirely simple, this is a relatively straight forward book that uses excellent examples to explain difficult concepts. There are many charts and diagrams. How exactly does a black hole work? What's the difference between a nova and a supernova (not as simple as you might think)? Why do we get meteor showers? There is a bit of mathematics involved, but nothing too intimidating. This is an excellent textbook. Best of all, a CD-ROM is included with lots of multimedia content, study questions, and links to more sources."



NightWatch: A Practical Guide to Viewing the Universe


Author: Terence Dickinson


Description: With 250,000 copies in print since its initial publication in 1983, NightWatch has become a standard reference guide for stargazers throughout North America. The new Third Edition expands on that success with a completely revised and updated text, more than 100 new color photos and diagrams and 16 additional pages that cover such! new astronomical pursuits as computerized telescopes, reviews of new telescope designs and accessories, and astronomy on the Internet. All charts, tables and diagrams have been updated and, in some cases, redesigned for easier use. Improved spacecraft measurements of the distances to the stars (recently released by the European Space Agency) are included in the charts, along with additional observing tips for stargazers using binoculars and telescopes. An expanded chapter on Astrophotography lists the best modern films and cameras for skyshooting. The new NightWatch is faithful to the "ultra-simplified, no jargon" philosophy of the original, and at the same time, offers substantially more practical information for the novice and intermediate-level amateur astronomer. The Royal Astronomical Society of Canada called the first edition "the best of its kind"- the new Third Edition is better still. It is still an abundantly illustrated, wide-sized volume designed for easy reference during many starlit nights." Amazon review: "The third edition of Nightwatch continues its tradition of being the best handbook for the beginning astronomer. Terence Dickinson covers all the problems beginners face, starting with the fact that the night sky does not look the way a modern city-dweller expects. He discusses light pollution, how to choose binoculars and telescopes, how to pronounce the names of stars and constellations, telescope mounts, averted vision, and why the harvest moon looks especially bright. Most of the lovely photographs in the book were taken by amateurs, which gives the section on astrophotography a particularly inspirational gleam."





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