A PUBLIC OUTREACH OBSERVATORY located on the campus of the El Dorado Learning Center, at Placerville, California, was established in 2006 through the works of the Rotarians on the Cameron Park as a free family-friendly park for the community.
The Community Observatory has brought the galaxy at the fingertips of students, amateur astronomers, and space watchers enthusiasts and lovers, for free.
All visitors to the observatory are assisted by knowledgeable, volunteer docents who are passionate about the study of astronomy and the observation of the galaxy.
For interested visitors, amateur astronomers and passionate space-watchers, the Cameron Park Rotary Community Observatory is located off the Highway 50 corridor, about 30 miles East of the California State Capitol and 40 miles West of Lake Tahoe in Placerville.
Chris Shockowitz pin-point local.
The Observatory sitting on top of the hill, located away from the hustle and bustle, as well as the glittering lights of the city, has a roll-back roof, which provides a clear view of the universe – bringing to life the galaxies, in the universe – when looking through a pair of 14-inch automated Celestron telescopes.
The public outreach observatory is operated by a partnership of a team of volunteers, from the Folsom Lake College, the El Dorado Country Office of Education, and the Rotarians of Cameron Park.
The Community Observatory at Placerville, CA, was built to create a sense of wonder and excitement about our place in the Universe, to further the thirst for knowledge and interests in astronomy and Space science, was the intention of the Rotary Club of Cameron Park.
Its Goals are:
- Provide valuable daytime and nighttime experiences for visitors both at the Observatory and the outreach programs
- Create a sense of community with our visitors through online communication methods
- Recruit, train, and retain experienced Lead and Assisting docents in order to fully manned all existing events
- Keep observing equipment fully functional and available
The Rotary Club of Cameron Park built this Community Observatory in partnership of the El Dorado County Office of Education as a Centennial Project in observation of 100th anniversary of Rotary International.
In 2011, the Rotarians of Cameron Park installed the Art Cort Sky Theater as a place for visitors to rest and gaze at the stars.
By 2017, two telescopes were permanently mounted in the observatory: one 17-inch Planewave CDK and one 14-inch Celestron SCT, modified to accommodate a Hyperstar optic system fitted with an Atik Infinity Camera.
Due to its scientific and educational value, schools, Scout groups and other community based clubs are encouraged to join, visit, and participate.
The observatory also provides in-class programs for K – 12 students as well as college students who wants to visit the site – whether individually or in groups – on field trip or as an aid in their studies.
Safe solar observation during daytime is also provided. The Observatory also hosts several events related to astronomy and space study. Events such as: the National Astronomy Day and Solar Activities.
The Community Observatory also runs a local bi-monthly newspaper featuring “Astronomy News” by expert and knowledgeable members of the observatory docent team.
For history buffs, the Community Observatory also provides visitors and travelers, before sundown the Placerville’s Historic Main Street, which showcases numerous landmarks, including the gold discovery era, eclectic art gallerias, shopping, dining, and local music.
During the Fall season, be ready to be thrilled by the enchanting agricultural farm trails of Apple Hill, which will show more than 50 farms, bakeries and wineries.
First time visitors or travelers wanting to visit the area are to call for the El Dorado County Office of Education if you want to arrange for special demonstrations, tours, and observation sessions. Group tours can also be arrange by contacting the El Dorado Center of Folsom Lake College at (530) 642- 5682.