Seeing Stars: The Astronomy Festival July 7-10, 2010

Events, Nightlife — By julietrevelyan on March 25, 2010 at 1:03 pm

Sad fact: About two-thirds of Americans (denizens of light-filled cities and suburbs) are unable to check out the Milky Way from their homes. You’ve probably noticed this, the last time you thought about looking upward. Light pollution from densely populated areas has effectively changed our night skies from being a breathtaking tapestry of starlight to something many people can hardly notice.

That’s why a trip to Bryce Canyon might be a great idea! Mark your calendars and gussy up those travel plans now: this summer marks the 10th season of the Astronomy Festival in Bryce Canyon. Still home to amazingly dark skies (due to the lack of artificial light to hide all those fascinating beacons in the sky from our eyes), this very well put-together event draws upon the deep well of experience and knowledge in their “dark rangers” to provide visitors with an out-of-this-world experience.

photo courtesy of NASA Goddard Photo and Video

Some of the specific activities include the Planet Walk, Constellation Tours, and Stargazing with Huge Telescopes (courtesy of the Salt Lake Astronomical Society). Want to take a gander at the Andromeda Galaxy? It may be a whopping 2 million+ light years away, but with their seriously powerful telescopes, it seems like you really can reach out and touch it.

Besides gleaning intriguing tidbits about those steady sentries up in the sky, perhaps the coolest activity is the Model Rocket Building & Launching Workshop. Sign up and hold onto your hats: you’re in for a wild ride! (Not to worry, parents: they really focus on safety during this one.)

photo courtesy of Ryan Wick

The stats:

  • admission is free (after paying Park entrance fee)
  • materials for the Model Rocket activity cost $10-$25
  • being July, the temps should be fairly comfortable in the evening/night, but bring extra warm layers just in case
Tags: astronomy, Bryce Canyon, dark rangers


  • Jeremy says:

    Bryce Canyon’s pristine night skies may be lost forever – the State of Utah has just approved an open-pit strip mine 10 miles southwest of the park, and 300 coal trucks a day will be kicking up even more dust as they transport the coal along the Mormon Highway.

    More on this at Red Green and Blue:

    Make sure to use the link at the end of the article to send a message to Utah’s Governor, who fast-tracked the mine (and took a $10,000 campaign contribution from the mining company).

  • Julie Trevelyan says:

    Great reminder about what’s happening in Alton, Jeremy. It would be beyond tragedy if Bryce’s incredibly clear night skies are fouled up by this mine. Thanks for posting your comment about it. I hope people out there get informed and involved!


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