Black Canyon ‘AstroFest’ kicks off next week

The  Black Canyon Astrofest will be kicking off next Thursday
The Black Canyon Astrofest will be kicking off next Thursday(Pexels)
Published: Sep. 13, 2022 at 4:16 PM MDT
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MONTROSE, Colo. (KKCO) - The starry skies of the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park will have a few more eyes on it after the annual astronomy festival kicks off next week. Also known as AstroFest, the festival will take place from Thursday, Sept. 22, through Saturday, Sept 24.

The National Park Service stated that it will be partnering with the Black Canyon Astronomical Society to host stargazing events all three nights of the festival, plus some daytime activities at the South Rim Visitor Center. Stargazers will also have the help of visiting astronomers and park rangers to find stellar vistas.

The NPS suggests wearing warmer clothes, as many of the events will be at night and at higher elevations. It also asks for participants to bring flashlights and headlamps with red bulbs instead of white to preserve night vision.

Here is the itinerary:

Thursday, Sept. 22, 2022

  • 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Evening Program in Montrose, CO at the Centennial Room. Dr. Anderson, physical scientist with the National Parks Natural Sounds and Night Skies Division, will present a talk on dark skies. Learn how the National Park Service protects night skies in parks. Seating capacity for the presentation is limited to 50. Half the seats will be reservable in advance. Requests for reservations can be sent to the park’s email.
  • 8:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Evening Stargazing at the Montrose Botanic Garden. Contemplate constellations or peek at a planet through a telescope.

Friday, Sept. 23, 2022

  • 7:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Evening Program at the South Rim Campground Amphitheater. Dr. Anderson, physical scientist with the National Parks Natural Sounds and Night Skies Division will discuss dark skies at Black Canyon and in the National Park Service.
  • 8:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Evening Stargazing at the open area adjacent to the South Rim Campground. Contemplate constellations or peek at a planet through a telescope. Telescopes will be set up at an open area located next to the campground. Location signs will be posted.

Saturday, Sept. 24, 2022

  • 7:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Evening Program at the South Rim Campground Amphitheater. Join a park ranger for an astronomy talk entitled “We Are Explorers”.
  • 8:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.. An electronically assisted astronomy (EAA) viewing will be offered at the amphitheater. Visitors will have the opportunity to learn constellations and view galaxies, nebulae, and other deep sky objects projected onto the big screen.

Daytime Astronomy Activities Daytime programs occur at the Black Canyon South Rim Visitor Center during all three days of the event. The visitor center is closed from 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm daily for staff lunch break.

  • 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. Daytime programming will be occurring at the South Rim at Black Canyon. An Astronomy Activity table will be set up daily at the porch of the South Rim Visitor Center.
  • 1:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. Daytime Astronomy talk with a Volunteer Astronomer. Learn what life on Mars would look like.
  • 2:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. Daytime Astronomy with a Volunteer Astronomer. Learn if there are other Earths in the Universe.