Our friends at the Grand Canyon, along with amateur astronomers from across the country, will provide free telescope viewing at the park June 21-28. If you haven’t done this yet, add it to your bucket list. Get the scoop below:
Grand Canyon, AZ – The 24th annual Grand Canyon Star Party will be held from Saturday, June 21, through Saturday, June 28, 2014, on the South and North Rims of Grand Canyon National Park. This event is sponsored by the National Park Service, the Tucson Amateur Astronomy Association (South Rim), and the Saguaro Astronomy Club of Phoenix (North Rim), with funding from Grand Canyon Association. 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 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!
On the South Rim, events include a slide show nightly at 8:00 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 9:00, 9:30 & 10:00 pm. 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 11:00 p.m. To guarantee a seat at the slide show, arrive early; doors open at 7:40 pm. Telescope viewing is best after 9:00 pm 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.
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. 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 our official website at www.nps.gov/grca, or download the “2014 Trip Planner” at http://www.nps.gov/grca/parknews/newspaper.htm.
For additional information on the Grand Canyon Star Party see http://www.nps.gov/grca/planyourvisit/grand-canyon-star-party.htm or contact Marker Marshall at (928) 638-7830. For questions about visiting Grand Canyon National Park, visit the park web site or call (928) 638-7888. Images from the 2013 Grand Canyon Star Party (South Rim) are available at: https://www.flickr.com/photos/grand_canyon_nps/sets/72157634555278306/