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Astronomers to Provide Free Telescope Viewing at Grand Canyon National Park

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avatar Astronomers to Provide Free Telescope Viewing at Grand Canyon National Park
May 29, 2015 12:19AM
Grand Canyon, Ariz. – The twenty-fifth annual Grand Canyon Star Party will be held from Saturday, June 13 through Saturday, June 20, 2015 on the South and North rims of Grand Canyon National Park. National parks such as Grand Canyon are protective harbors for some of the last remaining dark skies in this country.

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 presented and numerous telescopes will offer views of Venus, Jupiter and Saturn as well as star clusters, double stars, nebulae and distant galaxies. By day, look for telescopes pointed at the sun or a bright planet. Weather permitting, expect spectacular views of the universe!

On the South Rim, events include a nightly slide show at 8 pm 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, 9:30 &10 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 pm. To guarantee a seat at the slide show, arrive early;doors open at 7:40 pm. Telescope viewing is best after 9 pm and continues well into the night;visitors may arrive any time 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. For shuttle bus information, visit http://www.nps.gov/grca/planyourvisit/shuttle-buses.htm.

For additional information on the Grand Canyon Star Party visit http://www.nps.gov/grca/planyourvisit/grand-canyon-star-party.htm or contact Marker Marshall at 928-638-7830.

Images from the 2012 and 2013 Grand Canyon Star Party (South Rim) are available at:
  • https://www.flickr.com/photos/grand_canyon_nps/sets/72157630320405928
  • https://www.flickr.com/photos/grand_canyon_nps/sets/72157634555278306
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