The Grand Canyon Is Hosting An Amazing Star Party This Month, What You Need To Know

If you love stargazing and can be at the Grand Canyon June 18 to 25, you need to add the Grand Canyon Star Party to your calendar.

The Grand Canyon Star Party at Grand Canyon National Park is free — although you’ll still need to pay the park admission fee. The event, held on both the South Rim and North Rim, begins at sunset each evening. Astronomers will even be on-hand and share their telescopes.

“View an assortment of planets, double stars, star clusters, nebulae, and distant galaxies by night, and perhaps the Sun or Venus by day,” Rader Lane, night sky park ranger at the Grand Canyon, said in a statement. “Skies will be starry and dark until the moon rises the first night. It rises progressively later throughout the week of the Star Party.”

Here’s a rundown of scheduled events.

South Rim Star Party 2022

The South Rim Star Party is sponsored by the Tucson Amateur Astronomy Association.

There will be night sky photography workshops, constellation talks, and ranger-led constellation tours each evening. Each night there will also be a different evening program at 8 p.m.

Here’s the schedule for the evening programs.

June 18, Mars Perseverance

Aaron Yazzie, a mechanical engineer at NASA JPL and member of the American Indian Science and Engineering Society, will give a presentation about the Mars rover he helped build as well as the connections between Mars and the Navajo Nation.

June 19, Unfold The Universe With NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope

Visitors will learn about the engineering and science behind the recently launched James Webb Space Telescope during a discussion led by John Durning, deputy project manager for the James Webb Space Telescope Project at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.

June 20, Tour Of The Universe: You Are Here

Attendees will learn about the billions of stars and galaxies in the universe during a presentation by Dean Regas, outreach astronomer at the Cincinnati Observatory, and former co-host of PBS’s Star Gazers.

June 21, Stars Up, Lights Down

Ashley Wilson, director of conservation at the International Dark-Sky Association, will lead a presentation about the association and its work to protect dark night skies from light pollution.

June 22, Fly Me To The Moon Via Northern Arizona

Attendees will learn about the training astronauts in the 1960s and ’70s went through in northern Arizona as they prepared for moon missions during a presentation led by Kevin Schindler, a historian at Lowell Observatory.

June 23, Harmonious Nightscapes

The Dark Sky Quartet, a classical string quartet, will perform live under the stars.

June 24, Life In The Cosmos

David Koerner, emeritus professor at Northern Arizona University, will discuss “how factors which led to life on Earth hint at the possibilities for extraterrestrial life in the universe.”

June 25, The Amazing Nuwuvi Universe

“Soar into space with an indigenous astronomer,” Autumn Gillard, Southern Paiute astronomer at Pipe Spring National Monument, “and learn about the cultural connection that the Southern Paiute have with the dark sky.”

North Rim Star Party 2022

Telescopes will be set up on the porch of the Grand Canyon Lodge each evening during Star Party. An astronomy-related evening program will be presented at 8 p.m. in the Grand Canyon Lodge’s auditorium, and constellation talks will also be given throughout each evening.

The North Rim Star Party is sponsored by the Saguaro Astronomy Club of Phoenix, Arizona.

What You Need To Know

If you plan to attend the Grand Canyon Star Party 2022, be sure to dress warmly: Temperatures drop quickly after sunset, even in the summer.

You’ll also need to keep in mind that the use of flashlights with white bulbs and cell phone lights is discouraged on the telescope lot. Instead, you’ll need to use a flashlight with a red bulb because it maintains your (and everyone else’s) night vision, so your eyes won’t repeatedly need to adjust to the dark.

You can learn more about the Grand Canyon Star Party 2022, June 18 to 25, here.

Finally, don’t worry if you’re interested in stargazing at the Grand Canyon but are unable to attend this year’s Star Party. The Grand Canyon is an International Dark Sky Park, so, as the National Park Service notes, “practically anywhere in the park is a great place to stargaze due to the park’s efforts to reduce its light pollution.”

You can learn more about stargazing at the Grand Canyon here.

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