Free telescope viewing at Grand Canyon Star Party

For eight days every June, park visitors and residents explore the wonders of the night sky at Grand Canyon National Park, Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona, June 13, 2013 | Photo by Michael Quinn courtesy of Grand Canyon National Park, St. George News

GRAND CANYON NATIONAL PARK, Ariz. — The 25th annual Grand Canyon Star Party will be held from June 13-20 on the South and North rims of Grand Canyon National Park. National parks such as the Grand Canyon are, the park’s release said, protective harbors for some of the last remaining dark skies in the country.

For eight days every June, park visitors and residents explore the wonders of the night sky on Grand Canyon National Park, Grand Canyon National Park, June 10, 2013 | Photo by Michael Quinn, St. George News
For eight days every June, park visitors and residents explore the wonders of the night sky on Grand Canyon National Park, Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona, June 10, 2013 | Photo by Michael Quinn courtesy of Grand Canyon National Park, St. George News

Amateur astronomers from across the country will volunteer their expertise.

Free slide programs will be presented and numerous telescopes will offer views of Venus, Jupiter and Saturn, as well as star clusters, double stars, nebulae and distant galaxies. By day, look for telescopes pointed at the sun or a bright planet. Weather permitting, expect spectacular views of the universe.

South Rim

On the South Rim, events include a nightly slideshow 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 one through four (use lot four if accessibility is an issue) or arrive by the free Village Route shuttle bus, which runs until 11 p.m.

For eight days every June, park visitors and residents explore the wonders of the night sky on Grand Canyon National Park, Grand Canyon National Park, June 15, 2013 | Photo by Michael Quinn, St. George News
For eight days every June, park visitors and residents explore the wonders of the night sky on Grand Canyon National Park, Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona, June 15, 2013 | Photo by Michael Quinn courtesy of  Grand Canyon National Park, St. George News

To guarantee a seat at the slideshow, arrive early; doors open at 7:40 p.m. 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.

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.

This event is sponsored by the National Park Service, the Tuscon Amateur Astronomy Association (South Rim) and the Saguaro Astronomy Club of Phoenix (North Rim), with funding from Grand Canyon Association

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. 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.

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Event details and resources

  • What: 25th annual Grand Canyon Star Party
  • When: June 13-20
  • Where: Grand Canyon National Park, North and South rim
  • For shuttle bus information, visit the National Parks website.
  • Grand Canyon Star Party information
  • Contact: Marker Marshall 928-638-7830

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