Department of Parks
Founder of “Sidewalk Astronomy” Will Visit Two Kentucky State Parks
LOUISVILLE, Ky. – John Dobson, who is considered the father of “sidewalk astronomy,” will be visiting E.P. “Tom” Sawyer State Park in Louisville in September and Lake Barkley State Resort Park near Cadiz in October to conduct workshops.
The Louisville Astronomy Society has established an Urban Astronomy Center at E.P. “Tom” Sawyer State Park and will be hosting Dobson on Sept. 25 at and Sept. 28 at Both events are free and open to the public.
The Louisville sessions will be at Urban Astronomy Center at the park. The LAS Urban Astronomy Center features several types of telescopes, a virtual solar system tour on the Starship "Unbridled Spirit," a classroom, restroom, kitchen, computer center, kids’ activities area, a four-acre observing field and parking for 50. The Urban Astronomy Center hosts free events that allow the public to view the nighttime skies and learn about stars, planets and other astronomical bodies.
Dobson will present a free public astronomy show at Lake Barkley's Convention Center, followed by evening sky viewing with high-powered telescopes from Barkley Lodge on Monday, Oct. 1. The following evening, Oct. 2, Dobson will visit neighboring Land Between The Lakes to host the Golden Pond Planetarium's exclusive evening show and join the West Kentucky Amateur Astronomers for nighttime viewing at the planetarium's observatory. Admission is charged for the planetarium; discounts will be offered for those who attend the Oct. 1 event at Lake Barkley.
Dobson, who was born in China and educated as a chemist, began making inexpensive telescopes and later taught classes in astronomy and telescope making in California. Dobson has become known for his large, user friendly, telescopes that allow the average person to view the stars and planets.
Dobson will be taking part in several other events in the Louisville area during his visit. For more information, visit www.louisville-astro.org
E.P. “Tom” Sawyer State Park is a 550-acre park in Eastern Jefferson County. It has a swimming pool, fitness and nature trails, tennis courts, sports fields, BMX track, picnic shelters and year-round programming. For information, call 502-429-7270.
To reach the park, take the Gene Snyder Freeway to the Westport Road west exit. Follow the signs to the park, located at 3000 Freys Hill Road. Go to the second park entrance on the right and follow it until it ends at the Urban Astronomy Center.
Lake Barkley has a lodge, cottages, the Windows on the Water Restaurant, a campground, 18-hole golf course, fitness center with indoor pool, marina, fishing, tennis courts, hiking trails, gift shop and recreational and nature programming. For more information, visit www.parks.ky.gov or call the park at 1-800-325-1708. Lake Barkley State Resort Park is 29 miles west of Hopkinsville. Take U.S. 68W to KY 1489.
The Kentucky State Park System is composed of 53 state parks plus an interstate park shared with Virginia. The Department of Parks, an agency of the Commerce Cabinet, operates 17 resort parks with lodges -- more than any other state. Each year, Kentucky parks draw 7 million visitors and contribute $317 million to the economy. For more information on Kentucky parks, visit our Web site at http://www.parks.ky.gov