Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Grand Canyon "Star Party" not for Hollywood set

If you'd like to look at some really heavenly bodies, head for either the North or South rims of the Grand Canyon in early June for the big Star Party. No, you won't find the flashing of Paparazzi cameras, and no models worthy of the annual "Swimsuit Edition." Rather, the Star Party is looking up--way up!

Each year the National Park Service teams up with astronomers to bring the starry heavens closer to earthly viewers. With telescopes, park visitors get a chance to zoom in on real stars and planets. With its location far away from big city sources of light pollution, the Grand Canyon is an excellent venue for a good views of the stellar heavens.

Running a full eight days (and nights) from Saturday June 5 through the following Saturday, June 12, amateur astronomers will bring their equipment to give visitors a chance to view planets, star clusters, nebulae, and galaxies at night; and to view the sun by day. At the South Rim venue, events include a slide show nightly at 8:00 p.m. next to Yavapai Observation Station, followed by free telescope viewing. Across the way on the North Rim, telescopes will be set up on the porch of the Grand Canyon Lodge every evening.

Park folk remind visitors that at the Grand Canyon the high elevation spells cool nights. Bring yourself sweaters, jackets, a layered outlook on clothing. For South Rim visits, Plan to walk or arrive by free Village Route shuttle bus which runs until 11:00 p.m. For a comfortable spot at the slide shows, arrive early and bring something to sit on. Telescope viewing continues well into the night; visitors may arrive anytime after dark. Visitors to the South Rim Star Party will need a flashlight for the walk to the viewing area, but are asked to keep flashlights pointed down to protect everyone’s night vision. A red flashlight is best, and can be made by covering any flashlight with red cellophane or red nail polish or even red magic marker.

For more information visit this site:

photo courtesy Ron Short through the National Park Service