Star gazers will have an opportunity to scan the heavens from Grand Canyon National Park later in June during a week-long star party that will feature activities on both North and South rims.
The 18th annual Grand Canyon Star Party will be held from Saturday, June 21 through Saturday, June 28, 2008 on the rims. 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 star programs will be offered, and numerous telescopes will be set up to view planets, star clusters, galaxies, and nebulae at night and to view the sun by day.
Grand Canyon is one of the best night sky observing sites in the United States. Weather permitting, expect spectacular views of the universe! On the South Rim, events include a slide show nightly at 8:00 p.m. next to Yavapai Observation Station, followed by telescope viewing in the Yavapai parking lot and the dirt lot below.
Since there will be very few parking spaces, plan to arrive by the park’s free 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. For telescope viewing only, arrive any time after dark. Viewing continues well into the night.
On the North Rim, the nightly slide program will be held at 6:30 p.m. in the Grand Lodge auditorium; and telescopes will be set up on the porch of the Lodge every evening. Check with the visitor center for the location of special daytime sun viewing telescopes.
Nighttime temperatures at the canyon can be quite cool, even in summer. Those attending the star parties are encouraged to bring warm layers of clothing. Visitors to the South Rim Star Party may also want to bring a flashlight as they will be walking to their viewing area.
When traveling in the park on the South Rim, it is best to find a parking space and utilize the free shuttle bus to many of the points of interest in the Grand Canyon Village area – see the Park Guide for tour bus routes and schedules. If you plan to stay over night at Grand Canyon National Park, plan your visit well in advance. Visit our official website or, to receive a free Grand Canyon Trip Planner, call 928-638-7888.