This week on September 15, 16 and 17, the National Park Service, in collaboration with community partners, invites everyone to experience the wonders of the stars at a wide range of activities in southwest Utah’s Washington, Kane and Iron Counties. Participating agencies, communities and organizations include Cedar Breaks National Monument, Zion National Park, Utah Department of Natural Resources, Utah Tech, Southern Utah University, Southern Utah Museum of Art, Kanab’s Stellar Vista Observatory, Cedar City, Utah , the Town of Springdale, Utah, St. George Astronomy Group and Conserve Southwest Utah.
Events include opportunities to learn how to snatch pictures of the night sky with your smart phone, how the constellations and asterisms have connected cultures across time, safely take in telescopic views of the Sun, or catch a view of the deep sky through the 14 inch telescope at the Ashcroft Observatory at SUU.
At Zion National Park, you can hear NASA Heliophjysicist Dr. Madhulika Guhathakurta, speak on the fundamental discoveries of our universe, or join arachnid specialist Sach Valois for a nighttime scorpion hike in the Red Cliffs Desert Reserve to dispel myths about the creature, learn scorpion safety, and contemplate the connection between scorpions and the stars.
For a complete listing of all activities, times and locations, visit: https://www.nps.gov/cebr/planyourvisit/astronomy-festival.htm
In Kanab, Stellar Vista Observatory (https://stellarvistaobservatory.org/) will provide a free public star party on Friday, September 15 from 8:00 pm to 11:00 pm with its powerful telescopes set up for your enjoyment at the Jackson Flat Reservoir boat launch parking area.
Did you know that more than 80% of Americans cannot see the Milky Way from where they live? Here in Kanab, we can! That’s a precious gift worth preserving. Bring a folding chair, binoculars and a jacket as nighttime temps will be in the 50’s. Cool, clear and beautiful! Hope to see you there!