Same group that operates popular Screamboat to showcase celestial wonders
One of the icicle columns of the Colorado Mountain College Sky Club’s Crystal Observatory glints in the early morning sun after a frosty night of freezing and growing. The columns are grown by fusing together icicles harvested from local rooftops, then spraying them with water at night to grow and fill in the lattice. The Crystal Observatory – an extravaganza of ice sculptures and telescopes for winter viewing of the stars – will be open to visitors Jan. 31 and Feb. 1, 6, 7, 8 and 9 at the college’s campus in Steamboat Springs. Photo Jimmy Westlake
Members of the public and students and are invited to gaze at winter’s stars while strolling through an outdoor structure that’s part ice-and-snow sculpture and part outdoor mandala.
The Crystal Observatory, built by the Colorado Mountain College Sky Club, will be up and running by Jan. 31 and return during the Steamboat Springs Winter Carnival weekend.
“To my knowledge,” said Jimmy Westlake, noted CMC professor of physical science, award-winning astro-photographer and Sky Club advisor, “this is the only ice observatory in the history of civilization.”
But the observatory is more than an observatory – you could even call it a Crystal Cosmos.
Participants will follow a circular trail in the snow that leads them through a to-scale model of our solar system sculpted from ice. Along the way, visitors will enjoy views from a telescope and several man-made attractions including a laser light show projected against a snow screen, a snow-sculpture version of Stonehenge (“Snowhenge”) and a giant, walk-in, flying saucer carved from the snow.
The final stop is the crystal observatory, where the tour’s largest telescope will be located. Surrounding it, enormous stalagmite icicles will create a curved wall of Read more