Kanab’s Stellar Vista Observatory (SVO) will offer two free training sessions on Tuesday, June 22, and Wednesday. June 23, in how to use telescopes and tripod mounted binoculars to observe the night sky. The equipment is simple to use and there’s so much to see! Children as young as 10 may receive hands-on telescope training when accompanied by parent. Each session includes a brief demonstration of night sky friendly outdoor lighting to inform participants of simple ways they can help preserve the visibility of Kanab’s spectacular starry nights.
A fascinating conjunction of two celestial objects occurs on those dates. Participants will be able to witness the planet Mars passing through M-44, one of the Northern Hemisphere’s brightest star clusters. The Beehive is an open cluster of around 1,000 stars that were born together about 600 light years from earth. Mars, of course, is traveling in its own orbit within our solar system, but the two will appear to merge as they conjunct one another. (See this week’s SVO Sky Report by John Mosley)
Sky watching is inspiring, fun, and a wonderful learning opportunity, especially for young developing minds curious about what can be discovered in a truly dark sky. You’ll learn how to set up, care for and manually operate a portable telescope or tripod mounted binocular, how to identify the constellations, and to locate and observe objects of interest in the vast night sky. No matter your age, seeing deep into the vastness of space is uniquely inspiring to the imagination! Complete information on how to reserve your telescope or mounted binocular kit for one of the upcoming two June sessions is at: https://stellarvistaobservatory.org/discover-the-night-sky/.
Six astronomy kits will be set up so that each participating individual, group, or family will have observational equipment to directly observe the planets, star clusters, nebulae, and more. At least two instructors will be on hand to provide individualized instruction. Residents who own their own astronomy equipment are also welcome to attend. Sessions begin on location one-half hour after sunset and will go forward even if skies are partly cloudy. High wind or rain would force cancellation and re-scheduling. Visit Facebook/StellarVistaObservatory for a last minute update if the weather looks iffy.
The Tuesday, June 22, session will be held at the KCWCD boat launch parking area, two miles south of Kanab at Jackson Flat Reservoir. The Wednesday, June 23 session will take place at the ‘Zion View Star Field’ on BLM land off US 89, 10 miles north of Kanab near the 6100 foot Summit where the sky is exceptionally dark. Directions will be provided upon registering for the training. Although vaccinations are steadily increasing, not everyone has had their shots. Appropriate Covid 19 precautions including masking and distancing will be taken and required of all participants.
Stellar Vista Observatory is a 501c3 nonprofit formed by area residents to bring about the creation of a public educational astronomical observatory in Kanab. While the organization works to secure a site location for its future astronomy facility, SVO assists individuals, families and youth interested in enjoying the area’s starry night skies using portable instruments. SVO’s astronomy equipment lending program, called Discover the Night Sky, is funded through a grant from the Governor’s Office of Economic Development and Kane County Office of Tourism, making easy to use astronomical quality telescopes and tripod mounted binoculars available to Kane County residents at no charge.