Starting this coming weekend, Grand Canyon kicks off its 22nd Annual Star Party week of activities. Each evening starting June 16th and continuing through the 23rd, an astronomy slideshow will be shown in the South Rim’s Grand Canyon Visitor Center Theater at 8:00 PM. Parking is available in lots 1 through 4, and the Village Route shuttle bus runs every half-hour until 11:00 p.m. To make sure you get a seat at the slide show, arrive a few minutes early. (View shuttle bus information here.)
After the show, the Star Party moves outside to telescopes set up behind the Visitor Center. Viewing will begin at dusk but will obviously be best after dark. The telescopes will be available for viewing well into the night if conditions remain clear and calm. This tends to be a great time of year, so be prepared for a lovely evening of star gazing!
For those visiting the North Rim, look for telescopes to be set up on the porch of the lodge every evening. Check the bulletin boards at the North Rim Visitor Center for additional events such as star talks and special slide show programs to be shown in the Grand Canyon Lodge auditorium.
All programs and telescope viewing is provided free of charge (other than park entrance fee). They are offered by Grand Canyon National Park in association on the South Rim with the Tucson Amateur Astronomy Association and on the North Rim with the Saguaro Astronomy Club of Phoenix.
A few tips. Be sure to have a light jacket or sweater with you as it does get chilly once the sun goes down! Also, be sure to carry a flashlight for getting safely to and from the telescope viewing area. A red lens flashlight is best as it does not ruin night vision, but using a flashlight pointed down will work as well. If using a regular flashlight, please do keep it pointed down so that you don’t mess up anyone’s night vision–including your own!
Find out more about the week’s activities on Grand Canyon Star Party’s 2012 page.