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  Stargazing at Crane Beach
Stargazing at Crane Beach

What to Bring

Warm clothes   Hat
Gloves   Searchlight
Hot tea or
chocolate in
vacuum bottle


From Boston:
Follow Route 1 north to the exit for Route
128 north (towards Gloucester)
Follow Route 128 north to Exit 15
Turn left onto School Street
(becomes Southern Avenue in Essex) and follow it 3.0 miles
At the end of Southern Avenue, turn left
onto Main Street (Route 133) and follow it for 0.5 miles through the center of Essex
Bear right staying on Route 133 west and continue for 2.5 miles
Turn right onto Northgate Road at the sign for "Castle Hill / Crane Beach"
At the end of Northgate Road, bear right
onto Argilla Road
Follow Argilla Road for 2.5 miles to the
Crane Beach Gate House at end of paved road
  Good to know in advance
Pre-registration required - call

Registration fee: $15 per family, $10 per
adult, free for children and young adults
under 18 (TTOR members: $10 per family, $5 per adult)

There will be telescopes set up for viewing, but binoculars are strongly suggested to
scan the sky at your leisure
In the event of wind, snow, rain or clouds, the indoor presentation would take place at The Great House, also located on The
Crane Estate
North Shore Amateur Astronomy Club:
Trustees of Reservations: Crane Beach,
The Crane Estate, Ipswich, MA;
No pets

ID Card

Overall rating: Four-Star Rating Four-Star Rating Four-Star Rating Four-Star Rating Four-Star Rating
Difficulty: 1/5
  Time from Boston: 1 hour
  Duration: A few hours

$15 per family

  Main activity:

For families

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On February 12, go stargazing at Crane Beach in Ipswich. The beach, a property of the Trustees of Reservations, is normally closed at sunset, but this event gives you the opportunity to view the bright star of Orion and prominent constellations in the big night sky offered by the beach. The program runs from 7-9 pm.

People have been staring into the night sky, tracking the stars and constellations for thousands of years. Ancient Egyptian astronomers used the stars to align the pyramids. Intrepid sailors used the stars to navigate the seven seas. And now is your chance to look to the stars and learn more about astronomy in an exceptional setting.

On Saturday, February 12, the North Shore Amateur Astronomy Club will host a night of astronomy at Crane Beach in Ipswich. The beach is normally closed at sunset, but this program offers the opportunity to see the constellations in the beach's big night sky. This is also a unique opportunity to experience the vastness and silence of Crane Beach at night – an amazing sight when you know how busy the place is on summer days.

NSAAC is a non-profit association of local astronomers with a goal to promote a wider appreciation of astronomy. Stargazing at Crane Beach is part of NSAAC's ongoing star parties. The group will set up a number of telescopes trained at different sections of the night sky, and teach the curious what they're seeing. You can also bring your binoculars, scan the sky by yourself and ask as many questions as you want to the astronomers on site.

Participants will meet at the Crane Beach Gate House, with telescopes set up close to the beach. Due to the delicate nature of astronomy equipment and the clear conditions required for good viewing, Stargazing at Crane Beach will be an indoor program in the event of inclement weather. Should there be high wind, heavy clouds, rain or snow on event day, Jim Foy, president of NSAAC, will offer an indoor slide presentation and program at the Great House on the Crane Estate, up the road from Crane Beach - a worthwhile event in itself.

The event has been designed for children as well as grown-ups. If you have kids and don't know how to answer their questions ("Mom, what is that big star over there? Dad, what's the size of the universe?"), this is a unique opportunity to show them the sky away from the city's lights, and to introduce them to the fun of peering through big telescopes.

(Picture courtesy of Mark Schroeder)

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