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Home National & State Parks Grand Canyon You’re Invited to 20th Annual Grand Canyon Star Party Set for June 5-12

Grand Canyon, star party, space, star gazing, planets, galaxies, the West, Old West, national parks, Arizona, South Rim, astronomy, telescopes

You’re Invited to 20th Annual Grand Canyon Star Party Set for June 5-12

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You are invited to attend a really big party being thrown at Grand Canyon National Park, so big that it goes on for eight nights and you'll probably get the chance to see a few heavenly bodies.

The 20th annual Grand Canyon Star Party will be held from Saturday, June 5 through Saturday, June 12, 2010 on the South and North Rims of Grand Canyon National Park, and amateur astronomers from across the country will volunteer their expertise to help show you the moon, planets, stars and galaxies.

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As an added bonus, Grand Canyon National Park will be joining national parks and wildlife refuges around the country in offering free admission to the park on Saturday and Sunday, June 5 and 6.

The annual star gazing always takes place over eight nights in June when the nights are most likely to be clear. The dates for the star party change a little bit each year, because the dates are selected to avoid the light of the moon.

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.

Free slide programs will be offered, and numerous telescopes will be set up to view planets, star clusters, nebulae, and galaxies at night and to view the sun by day. National parks such as Grand Canyon are protective harbors for some of the last remaining dark skies in this country. Weather permitting; expect spectacular views of the universe!

On the South Rim, events include a slide show nightly at 8 p.m. next to Yavapai Observation Station, followed by free telescope viewing. Parking is very limited. As many as 50 telescopes set up on the South Rim.

Visitors should plan to walk or arrive by free Village Route shuttle bus which runs until 11 p.m. For a comfortable spot at the slide shows, arrive early and bring something to sit on.

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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.

On the North Rim, telescopes will be set up on the porch of the Grand Canyon Lodge every evening. Check the Visitor Center and park bulletin boards for additional daytime and evening events.

Nighttime temperatures on both rims can be quite cool, even in summer. Those attending the star party are encouraged to bring warm layers of clothing.

When traveling in the park on the South Rim, it is best to find a parking space and use the free shuttle bus system to access points of interest in the Grand Canyon Village area. See the Park Guide for tour bus routes and schedules.

To learn more about Grand Canyon's star parties you can listen to the podcast at
www.nps.gov/grca/photosmultimedia/insiders-look-40.htmplease or visit the web site at www.nps.gov/grca/planyourvisit/grand-canyon-star-party.htm.

For information specific to the South Rim Star Party, contact Marker Marshall at (928) 638-7830; or for the North Rim Star Party, contact Robin Tellis at (928) 638-7739. A Grand Canyon Trip Planner can be downloaded at
www.nps.gov/grca or you can receive one by calling (928) 638-7888.

And don't forget the free admission to Grand Canyon June 5-6.

Visitors will be allowed to enter free of charge and will receive a $0 receipt good through June 6. Those who plan to spend time in the park beyond the 6th will need to pay the regular entrance fee for the remainder of their stay.

Park visitors are reminded that the fee-free designation applies to entrance fees only and does not affect fees for camping, reservations, tours or use of concessions. Park entrance stations will have Interagency Senior and Annual Passes available for those who wish to purchase them

This summer's fee-free days are intended to encourage Americans to get outdoors and experience their public lands. Additional 2010 admission-free days are planned for Aug. 14 and 15, Sept. 25 and Nov. 11.

For more information on fee-free opportunities in park units around the country, please visit
www.nps.gov/findapark/feefreeparks.htm. To learn more about visiting Grand Canyon National Park, visit the park's web site at www.nps.gov/grca, or have a free Trip Planner mailed to you by calling 928-638-7888.


 
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