Tour the galaxy with astronomers, Grand Canyon Star Party

Grand Canyon National Park North Rim, Grand Canyon, Arizona, September 2012 | Photo by Cami Cox Jim, St. George News

GRAND CANYON, Ariz. — The 24th annual Grand Canyon Star Party will be held from June 21-28, on both the South and North Rims of Grand Canyon National Park.

South Rim

On the South Rim, events include a slide show nightly at 8 p.m. in the theater of the Grand Canyon Visitor Center, followed by free telescope viewing behind the building. Green-laser Constellation Tours will be offered at 9 p.m., 9:30 p.m. and 10 p.m.

Parking is available in Lots 1 through 4 (use Lot 4 if accessibility is an issue), or arrive by the free Village Route shuttle bus, which runs until 11 p.m. To guarantee a seat at the slide show, arrive early; doors open at 7:40 pm. Telescope viewing is best after 9 p.m. and continues well into the night; visitors may arrive anytime after dark.

A flashlight is recommended for the walk to the viewing area, but white lights are not permitted on the Telescope Lot.  Give your eyes time to dark-adapt, or use a red flashlight, easily made by covering any flashlight with red cellophane, nail polish, or permanent marker.

When traveling in the park on the South Rim, it is best to find a parking space and use the free shuttle bus system to access points of interest in the Grand Canyon Village area. See the park newspaper The Guide for tour bus routes and schedules. If you plan to stay overnight at Grand Canyon National Park, plan your visit well in advance. Browse the park’s official website, or download the 2014 Trip Planner.

North Rim 

On the North Rim, telescopes will be set up on the porch of the Grand Canyon Lodge every evening. Check the Visitor Center and park bulletin boards for additional daytime and evening events.

Nighttime temperatures on both rims can be quite cool, even in summer. Those attending the star party are encouraged to bring warm layers of clothing. Amateur astronomers from across the country will volunteer their expertise. Free slide programs will be offered and numerous telescopes will be set up to view planets, double stars and star clusters, nebulae and distant galaxies by night, as well as the sun by day.

National Parks

National parks such as Grand Canyon are protective harbors for some of the last remaining dark skies in this country. Weather permitting, expect spectacular views of the universe!

This event is sponsored by the National Park Service, the Tucson Amateur Astronomy Association and the Saguaro Astronomy Club of Phoenix with funding from Grand Canyon Association.

Resources

  • What: Star party | Website
  • When: June 21-28, times vary
  • Where: North and South Rims of Grand Canyon National Park
  • Admission: Free
  • Contact: Marker Marshall | 928-638-7888

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