Night Skies for Counting Stars and Reminiscing in Northern Gyeonggi Province
Createdd 2019-08-20 Hit 11
○ Five ideal places to stargaze in northern Gyeonggi Province with skies more beautiful at night than in the daytime
– Pocheon Art Valley Astronomical Science Museum, Yangju Songam Space Center, Gapyeong Nature & Star Astronomical Observatory, Uijeongbu Astronomical Observatory, Goyang Haengjusanseong
Fortress (operating at night)
– Characteristics, facilities, and user guides and transportation information for each location described below.
“A memory in one star, love in another star, loneliness in another one…”
August is a month when Koreans recall many patriotic martyrs including Yun Dong-ju, a poet who died young but still lives in the hearts of Koreans. In his poem, “Night of Counting Stars,” Yun projects his feelings as a young intellectual living under Japanese occupation onto stars. Today, Koreans, while viewing the stars watched by Yun, who longed for the liberation of the country, talk about fond memories, love, dreams, and romance.
What do the stars shining in your heart remind you of? Gyeonggi Province introduces five ideal places in the northern part of the province where you can stargaze with your loved ones and talk about your hopes and dreams.
◆ Pocheon Art Valley Astronomical Science Museum: Enjoy art, nature, and the universe
Pocheon Art Valley, located in Sinbuk-myeon, Pocheon City, and renovated from an abandoned quarry into a cultural and art space, is one of most famous attractions in northern Gyeonggi Province. In particular, the astronomical science museum is a place where visitors can endlessly stretch their imagination about the universe and see gigantic granite rocks as well as Cheonjuho Lake.
The museum consists of an exhibition hall where visitors can cultivate their curiosity about the universe through various exhibitions and experiential programs; a photo zone where they can take commemorative photos wearing a space suit; an astronomical projection room that operates a program to explore constellations with projected images; and an astronomical observation room for observing celestial bodies with telescopes.
Visitors can enter the astronomical projection room and the astronomical observation room after signing up for the Astronomical Program on the first floor of the museum. They are provided with explanations about constellations in the astronomical projection room and then move to the astronomical observation room to observe the sun during the day and other celestial bodies at night.
Tours of the museum during the day start at 10:00 AM and at 6:40 PM at night. The last entrance is at 8:20 PM. Visitors can enter the museum with a Pocheon Art Valley admission ticket without paying any additional charge. Access by public transportation is available via city bus no. 73 from Pocheon Intercity Bus Terminal. (Inquiries: +82-31-538-3488)
◆ Yangju Songam Space Center: Discover the Reasons for Being in the Universe
The Songam Space Center, the largest space and astronomical theme park in Korea, is located on Gaemyeongsan Mountain in Jangheung-myeon, Yangju City. The center is famous for the cable cars used to reach the observatory, as they provide unique and fun experiences.
The space center is equipped with high-performance telescopes such as a 600-mm Ritchey–Chrétien developed through independent Korean technology and other high-end telescopes, enabling more accurate observations of the stars. Various experiential programs, such as a daily astronomical classroom and space science camp, are also in operation.
There are other unique attractions and experiential programs, such as the Challenger Learning Center, where visitors can experience various situations encountered in space, and the Digital Planetarium that allows visitors to experience the universe through vivid stereoscopic images and lively sounds. In addition, the center has various facilities such as accommodations and restaurants, and is adjacent to other tourist attractions including the Chang Ucchin Museum of Art and Cheongam Folk Museum, which makes it popular among touring families.
Operating hours are from 11:00 AM to 9:30 PM on Saturdays, and the last entrance is at 7:00 PM (for individual visitors). The package program pass named “Star Pass” (astronomical observatory + cable car + planetarium) is priced at KRW 35,000 for adults, KRW 31,000 for elementary, middle, and high school students, and KRW 27,000 for children aged 4 or over and kindergarten students. Public transportation is available via city bus no. 15-1 from Yangju Station of Seoul Subway Line 1. (Inquiries: +82-31-894-6000)
◆ Starry Night in a Deep Mountain Valley: Gapyeong Nature & Star Astronomical Observatory
Nestled at the foot of Myeongjisan Mountain (1,252 m), Gyeonggi Province’s second highest mountain, in Buk-myeon of Gapyeong County, the Gapyeong Nature & Star Astronomical Observatory is an ideal place to observe stars in a pristine natural environment.
Equipped with a number of telescopes including the 16-inch Maksutov telescope, the observatory provides not only a space to watch stars, but also a rare chance to learn about the birth and death of stars with images projected onto a large 330-inch screen on the ceiling.
Visitors can participate in a variety of programs that suit their circumstances, such as 1-day, 2-day, and 3-day programs, as well as group programs. Summer 1-day programs start at 7:00 PM and 1-day programs for office workers begin at 9:00 PM.
The admission fee is KRW 25,000 per person for 1-day programs. Equipped with various facilities including accommodation, restaurants, cafeterias, swimming pools, and observation decks, the observatory is a popular vacation spot among families. To reach the observatory by public transportation, take city bus no. 33-1, 50-3, or 33-38 from Gapyeong Station on Gyeongchun Line or from Gapyeong Terminal. (Inquiries: +82-31-581-4001)
◆ A New Advanced Astronomical Observatory: Uijeongbu Astronomical Observatory
Located at the foot of Hyojabong Peak in Singok-dong, Uijeongbu City, the Uijeongbu Astronomical Observatory is a new facility that has been operating on a trial basis since April this year to provide citizens with various astronomical observation experiences in a larger and specialized facility.
The observatory is test-operated every Friday and Saturday, though it has not yet officially opened. It consists of a main observation room for star observation, an auxiliary observation room, the Astro Hall where space-related materials will be displayed, and the Baeumteo for various lectures.
Visitors can acquire basic knowledge of celestial bodies, such as the major constellations of each season, with audiovisual materials, and then observe the stars using telescopes installed in the observation room.
Operating hours are from 3:00 PM to 4:50 PM during the day and from 8:30 PM to 10:20 PM at night. Admission is free of charge, and visitors are required to register in advance on Uijeongbu Science Library’s Astronomical Experience Room web site (ast.uilib.go.kr). Public transportation users can take city bus no. 1-1, 23, or 72-1 from Uijeongbu Station on Seoul Subway Line 1 or walk after getting off at Gyeonggi Provincial Government North Office Station of the U Line. (Inquiries: +82-31-851-8672)
◆ The City Sky is More Beautiful at Night: Goyang Haengjusanseong Fortress
Goyang Haengjusanseong Fortress, the site of the Battle of Haengju where Korean troops defeated 30,000 Japanese soldiers during the 1592-1598 Japanese invasions of Korea, is today a popular hiking destination among residents of the capital area as it is close to the city center and commands a full view of the Hangang River.
Here, walkers can appreciate the beautiful nature of Deogyangsan Mountain, as well as various attractions lined up along the fortress walls, including Chungjangsa Temple where General Gwon Yul is enshrined, a memorial exhibiting various artifacts from the Battle of Haengju, Deogyangjeong Pavilion at top of the mountain, and the Battle of Haengju Monument erected in 1963 to commemorate victory in this battle.
The fortress is open at night during summer (from July to August). Strolling along the fortress walls at sunset, visitors can enjoy the evening glow on the Hangang River and, after sunset, they can appreciate a spectacular nightscape from Deogyangjeong. The beautiful scenery created by the night sky, the cityscape, and the Hangang River is a highlight of the fortress tour that should not be missed.
Evening operating hours are from 6:00 PM to 10:00 PM on Saturdays from July 6 to August 31 (last entrance at 9:00 PM). The fortress is also open at night on September 13, Chuseok Day. Admission is free. Public transportation users can take city bus no. 011 from Hwajeong Station on Seoul Subway Line 3 or from Neunggok Station on the Gyeongui-Jungang Line. (Inquiries: +82-31-8075-4642)
“August after the rainy season is the time when we can see brightest stars such as Vega and Altair with the Milky Way in the center. I hope that many people will visit the northern part of Gyeonggi Province, where the sky is more beautiful at night than in the daytime, and cultivate their love and friendship and talk about their hopes and happy memories while watching the stars,” said Kim Hyo-eun, Gyeonggi Province Spokesperson for Peace.