If you love stargazing and can be at the Grand Canyon June 18-25, you need to add the Grand Canyon Star Party to your calendar.
The Grand Canyon Star Party at Grand Canyon National Park is free — though you still need to pay the park admission fee. The event, held on the South Bank and North Bank, starts at sunset every night. Astronomers will be there and share their telescopes.
“See a variety of planets, double stars, star clusters, nebulae and distant galaxies at night, and perhaps the Sun or Venus during the day,” Rader Lane, Grand Canyon night sky guard, said in a statement. “The skies will be starry and dark until the moon rises on the first night. It progressively rises later throughout the Star Festival week.”
Here is a summary of upcoming events.
Feast of the Star of the South Bank 2022
The South Rim Star Party is sponsored by the Tucson Amateur Astronomy Association.
There will be night sky photography workshops, constellation talks and ranger-led constellation tours every night. Each night there will also be a different evening program at 8pm.
Here is the schedule for the evening shows.
June 18, Mars Perseverance
Aaron Yazzie, a mechanical engineer at NASA JPL and a member of the American Indian Science and Engineering Society, will deliver a presentation on the Mars rover he helped build, as well as the connections between Mars and the Navajo Nation.
June 19, Unfold the Universe with NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope
Visitors will learn about the engineering and science behind the newly launched James Webb Space Telescope during a discussion led by John Durning, deputy project manager for the James Webb Space Telescope Project at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.
June 20, Universe Tour: You Are Here
Attendees will learn about the billions of stars and galaxies in the universe during a presentation by Dean Regas, astronomer at the Cincinnati Observatory and former co-host of PBS’s star watchers.
June 21st, stars on, lights out
Ashley Wilson, director of conservation for the International Dark-Sky Association, will lead a presentation about the association and its work to protect dark night skies from light pollution.
June 22, Fly Me To The Moon Via Northern Arizona
Attendees will learn about astronaut training in the 1960s and 1970s in northern Arizona as they prepared for lunar missions during a presentation led by Kevin Schindler, a historian at Lowell Observatory.
June 23, Harmonious Night Landscapes
The Dark Sky Quartet, a classic string quartet, will perform live under the stars.
June 24, Life in the Cosmos
David Koerner, professor emeritus at Northern Arizona University, will discuss “how the factors that led to life on Earth suggest the possibilities for extraterrestrial life in the universe.”
June 25, The Amazing Nuwuvi Universe
“Fly into space with an Indigenous astronomer,” Autumn Gillard, Southern Paiute astronomer at Pipe Spring National Monument, “and learn about the cultural connection Southern Paiutes have to the dark sky.”
North Rim Star Party 2022
Telescopes will be installed on the Grand Canyon Lodge balcony each night during the Star Party. An evening program related to astronomy will be presented at 8:00 pm in the auditorium of the Grand Canyon Lodge, and lectures on constellations will also be given nightly.
The North Rim Star Party is sponsored by the Saguaro Astronomy Club of Phoenix, Arizona.
What do you need to know
If you plan on attending the 2022 Grand Canyon Star Party, be sure to dress well: temperatures drop quickly after sunset, even in summer.
You also need to keep in mind that the use of flashlights with white bulbs and cell phone lights is discouraged in the telescope parking lot. Instead, you’ll need to use a flashlight with a red bulb because it maintains your night vision (and everyone else’s) so your eyes don’t have to repeatedly adjust to the dark.
You can learn more about the 2022 Grand Canyon Star Party, June 18-25, here.
Finally, don’t worry if you’re interested in stargazing at the Grand Canyon but can’t attend this year’s Star Party. The Grand Canyon is a Dark Sky International Park, so, as the National Park Service notes, “virtually anywhere in the park is a great place for stargazing because of the park’s efforts to reduce its light pollution.”
You can learn more about stargazing at the Grand Canyon here.
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