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Monday, January 5, 2015

What is a Star Tour?

Everyone wants to know - what are these star tours that the Starman of Mitzpe Ramon is famous for?

Well, this blog is full of information about what we do on our star tours, but in brief:

WHAT WE DO
 Thanks for your interest in my star tours. My tours last about two hours, usually starting at 9:30pm or sometimes 6:00pm/6:30pm in the winter. The first half we do naked eye observing of the sky, identifying constellations, learning star lore, understanding how the sky works; the second half we go to the telescopes to view the best sights of the night. I set up my "portable observatory" in the desert behind Mitzpe Ramon, meet people at their hotels and guide them up to my observing location. We provide chairs and blankets for everyone, and No, no walking is required. The planets and stars are too far away! We let our eyes do the walking. I can usually take people in my own car up to my observing location. But if my car is full I may ask you to follow me in yours the short distance to my observing location (about 3 kilometers) behind town. No four-wheel drive required.
WHEN DO WE DO IT?
We go out every clear night, except Shabbat (Friday night) and Jewish holidays.
WHEN IS THE BEST TIME FOR A STAR TOUR?
Mitzpe Ramon has some of the darkest, most easily accessible skies in Israel. There is some light pollution here, but on a dark night the Milky Way is bright and easily visible, and the sky is star studded. The best nights to come if you want to see the sky that way is when there is no moon in the sky. See the Moon Phase Calendar on this site for dates of the dark of the moon. Of course, if your schedule does not allow this, we still go out every clear, non-holiday night and have a star adventure non pareil.
COST
The cost is 150nis/adult, 75nis/child 6-12, no cost for children under 6yo, max charge of 750nis/nuclear family. Please pay in shekels or Israeli checks, but if you have Greenbacks, Euros, or Pounds, I can take those in a pinch. Ask about special prices for larger groups.
WEATHER
It is cold in the desert at night, even in the summer, so I recommend people dress warmly year round, very warmly in winter. I also bring blankets for people. My star tours are group activities.
SIZE OF THE GROUP
I do not do exclusive tours. Size of the group is highly variable. Could be only you; could be as many as 20 people. Holidays are usually the busiest time of year. Whatever the size, the sky is large so everyone gets a front row seat. 
EXPERIMENTS
I sometimes experiment using different equipment and different modes of observation. When something works, it becomes a permanent part of the tour. For large groups I sometimes use my astrovideo camera which displays what the telescope is viewing on a TV monitor.
    Contact us at: machefsky@gmail.com
                           1-972-(0)52-544-9789
                            ira.machefsky (Skype)

To make a reservation call or email with the following information --

Name:
Size of group with ages of children:
Date(s) of desired star tour:
Your email address:
Hotel where you will be staying:
Mobile number where you can be reached in Israel:
Will you have your own transportation:

Looking forward to seeing you under the starry skies of Mitzpe Ramon!

Ira "The Starman of Mitzpe Ramon" Machefsky
We make the mysteries of the Cosmos easier to understand than this!

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