Shine up those telescopes and get your astrological maps ready because the annual Grand Canyon Star Party is lighting up that azure sky. Starting on June 9th and happening through June 16th the South and North Rims of Grand Canyon National Park will be starstruck.
This year marks the twenty-eighth Star Part, hosted by the Grand Canyon, to celebrate and educate about the preservation of dark skies.
Dark skies are defined as the most natural skies and national parks across the country have dedicated resources to preserving these skies.
In 2016, Grand Canyon National Park received Provisional International Dark Sky Park status through the International Dark-Sky Association. This status allows the park three years, from the date of status, to outfit two-thirds of the lights in the park to be night-sky friendly.
With the way the provisions work out, the Grand Canyon National Park’s 100th birthday will correlate with its gift of receiving full International Dark Sky Park status in 2019.
This is another reason why this year’s park celebration so special.
Armature astronomers, you’re invited to bring your telescopes to this year’s event, which will allow you to catch a glimpse of Jupiter, Saturn, Venus, and Mars. There will also be the visible experience of double stars, star clusters, nebulae taking place throughout the length of the celebration, as well as distant galaxies. This is an awe-inspiring sight that you can only see certain places on Earth.
In addition to the natural phenomenon that will be visible, there will also be educational programs going on throughout the South and North Rim.
The events on the South Rim will feature a nightly slide show that starts at 8 p.m. in the Grand Canyon Visitor Center theater and Green-laser Constellation Tours will be offered every half hour, starting at 9 p.m.
The events on the North Rim include telescope viewing areas on the terrace of the Grand Canyon Lodge while visiting astronomers point out constellations with green lasers. Plus, at 8 p.m. there will be an astronomy slideshow presentation, which will give visitors a more in-depth explanation of what we see in the night sky.
Due to the large number of people who attend this event, try to arrive early. There will be a shuttle service taking visitors to and from the South and North Rim highlights. However, with doors opening at 7 p.m. the sooner you get situated, the better your experience will be.