Black Canyon Astronomy Festival

White font of the words Astro Fest float in a digitally drawn retro design of an inky teal blue night sky dotted with bright stars above a warm brown canyon.

Thursday, September 22, 2022 – Saturday, September 24, 2022

Dark skies are achingly beautiful, scientifically valuable, and carry centuries of human story. Every year, Black Canyon hosts an Astronomy Festival to provide the opportunity for visitors to experience this disappearing resource, and learn about how important it is to protect. Come celebrate with us!

Most events are held on the South Rim of the park. Events include an astro activity table during the day, ranger talks, guest speaker programs, and stargazing each night. Rangers, volunteers, and the Black Canyon Astronomical Society (BCAS) will provide telescopes for viewing, or project deep sky objects onto Black Canyon’s big screen. We’ll also bring the excitement to Montrose, Colorado with an evening lecture followed by stargazing to kick off the festival on Thursday, September 22. Read on for the 2022 schedule.

 
people around telescopes with a starry night sky overhead
The annual Black Canyon Astronomy Festival includes lots of stargazing, both with and without telescopes!

Photo Credit: Joyce Tanihara

Daytime Events:

Astro Activity Table: Convert your flashlight to a night-sky friendly red light! Play our trivia game and win a prize!
Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, September 22-24
South Rim Visitor Center
10 am – 12 pm and 1 pm-3 pm (The visitor center is closed daily from 12-1 pm for staff lunch break.)

Learn about Mars and Exoplanets with Astronomers
Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, September 22-24
South Rim Visitor Center
1:00-1:30 pm - Join a Volunteer Astronomer to learn what life on Mars would look like.
2:00-2:30 pm - Join a Volunteer Astronomer to learn if there are other Earths in the Universe.

Evening Events:

Thursday, September 22

Dark Skies Talk: Dr. Sharolyn Anderson, physical scientist with the National Parks Natural Sounds and Night Skies Division, will present a talk about the value of dark skies and how the National Park Service protects night skies in parks.
Centennial Room in Montrose (433 S 1st Street, Montrose, Colorado)
7:00-8:00 pm
Seating capacity for the presentation is limited to 50. Half the seats are reservable in advance. The reservable seats for the Thursday evening talk are full at this time.
Reserved seats must be claimed by 6:45 pm at the event (15 minutes early), so that we may make any cancelations available.


Stargazing with Telescopes: Contemplate constellations or peak at a planet through a telescope.
Montrose Botanic Gardens (1800 Pavilion Drive, Montrose, Colorado; approximately two miles from the talk location)
8:30-10:00 pm


Friday, September 23

Dark Skies Talk: Dr. Sharolyn 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.
Black Canyon South Rim Campground Amphitheater*
7:30-8:30 pm

Stargazing with Telescopes: Contemplate constellations or peak 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.
Black Canyon South Rim Campground
8:30-10:00 pm


Saturday, September 24

Ranger Talk: Join a park ranger for an astronomy talk entitled “We Are Explorers”
Black Canyon South Rim Campground Amphitheater*
7:30-8:30 pm

Night Sky Viewing: 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.
Black Canyon South Rim Campground Amphitheater*

What to Bring?

  • Warm clothes!
    • Temperatures drop significantly at night. Bring extra layers and a blanket for stargazing in comfort.
  • Red flashlight!
    • Help preserve yours and others' night vision by using a red light. Don't have one? Stop by the Astro Activity Table to convert your headlamp or flashlight from 10 am-12 pm and 1 pm-3 pm.
  • Camp chair or seat cushion
    • Kick back and relax in your own chair for outside events.

All events are subject to change or cancelation due to weather.

*The path to the amphitheater is steep and the seating is backless, prepare accordingly. Park only in designated areas, never on vegetation.

Black Canyon's astronomy program, including this festival, is made possible through our partnership with the Black Canyon Astronomical Society.

Last updated: September 20, 2022

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Contact Info

Mailing Address:

102 Elk Creek
(GPS/physical address = 9800 Highway 347, Montrose, CO)

Gunnison , CO 81230

Phone:

970-641-2337

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