Annual Astronomy Festival

 

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Poster for Bryce Canyon Astronomy Festival showing purple shaded cliffs and slopes beneath a night sky and a shooting star

NPS/Peter Densmore

Bryce Canyon Astronomy Festival


There’s no place quite like Bryce Canyon by day, and no time like a new moon in June to enjoy it by night. Astronomy festivals feature family-friendly daytime activities and ranger-led evening programs and constellation tours.

The 2022 festival will feature guest speakers Dean Regas from the Cincinnati Observatory and recent Grand Canyon Astronomer in Residence as well as Bill Ochs, James Webb Space Telescope Project Manager & Begoña Vila, Webb Instrument Systems Engineer!

See below for our schedule of events. As always, attending the festival is free with park admission.

Visit our Ranger Program page for more information on our regularly-offered ranger programs.

 

2022

Schedule of Events

Our 2023 festival is scheduled for June 15-18. Check back later for an updated schedule!

Daytime Activities

11:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Family Friendly activities in the Visitor Center plaza including booths from the James Webb Space Telescope team and University of Utah.

Evening Programs

Star Stories

8:30 p.m. 45 minutes
Planetarium Educator Dr. Amy Sayle takes you on a trip through the constellations and the eternal legends they tell. Help act out one of the greatest star stories ever told.

Location given at sign-up. This program requires reservations, which can be made same-day at the Visitor Center Information Tent beginning at 8 a.m. until capacity is reached.

Our Backyard: Exploring Venus and Mars

9:00 p.m. 45 minutes
Venus and Mars are in our planet's backyard, but how much do you really know about them? Join Ranger Emma on an exploration of these two planets. Discover what makes these planets unique, as well as what makes them surprisingly similar to our own planet. From rivers of lava to ice caps, let's get to know our backyard a little better.

Location given at sign-up. This program requires reservations, which can be made same-day at the Visitor Center Information Tent beginning at 8 a.m. until capacity is reached.

Stargazing

10:00 p.m. - Midnight
Aditional Parking lot across from Visitor Center

Shuttle hours will be extended for the festival. As parking at the Visitor Center and evening program locations will be limited, we advise parking at the Shuttle Station or boarding from your campground in the park. Shuttles will run until 1 a.m.

Volunteers from the Salt Lake Astronomical Society point their telescopes at some of the night sky's most spectacular sights. White-light flashlights are prohibited due to their negative impact on night vision.

Daytime Activities

11:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Family Friendly activities in the Visitor Center plaza including booths from the James Webb Space Telescope team and University of Utah.

Evening Programs

Black Holes

8:30 p.m. 60 minutes
Ever wondered about the "anatomy" of black holes, how they're formed, what types exist, and what would happen if you came a little too close? Join Paul Ricketts, director of University of Utah's South Physics Observatory, to talk about how relativity and gravity explains them, how we detect them, and how they affect space-time and ultimately, you.

Location given at sign-up. This program requires reservations, which can be made same-day at the Visitor Center Information Tent beginning at 8 a.m. until capacity is reached.

From Lead to Gold: The Alchemy of the Stars

9:00 p.m. 60 minutes
When Carl Sagan once said, "The cosmos is within us. We are made of star-stuff," he meant it literally! Nearly all the atoms that make up us, and everything around us, are created in the fiery death of exploding stars. Samantha will talk about how these elements are made, how we learn about them and what's left to be uncovered.

Location given at sign-up. This program requires reservations, which can be made same-day at the Visitor Center Information Tent beginning at 8 a.m. until capacity is reached.

Stargazing

10:00 p.m. - Midnight
Aditional Parking lot across from Visitor Center

Shuttle hours will be extended for the festival. As parking at the Visitor Center and evening program locations will be limited, we advise parking at the Shuttle Station or boarding from your campground in the park. Shuttles will run until 1 a.m.

Volunteers from the Salt Lake Astronomical Society point their telescopes at some of the night sky's most spectacular sights. White-light flashlights are prohibited due to their negative impact on night vision.

Daytime Activities

11:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Family Friendly activities in the Visitor Center plaza including booths from the James Webb Space Telescope team and University of Utah.

Evening Program

Star Stories

8:30 p.m. 45 minutes
Planetarium Educator Dr. Amy Sayle takes you on a trip through the constellations and the eternal legends they tell. Help act out one of the greatest star stories ever told.

Location given at sign-up. This program requires reservations, which can be made same-day at the Visitor Center Information Tent beginning at 8 a.m. until capacity is reached.

Keynote Program

100 Things to See in the Night Sky: Stargazing 101

Dean Regas, Cincinnati Observatory

9:00 p.m. 60 minutes
Want to know the name of that star? How do I find constellations like Orion, Gemini, and Taurus? When can I see the planets? Based on his popular book, astronomer Dean Regas will show you the basic tips and tricks to identifying stars, constellations, planets, and more in the night sky. You'll soon be on your way to finding 100 Things in the Night Sky.

Location given at sign-up. This program requires reservations, which can be made same-day at the Visitor Center Information Tent beginning at 8 a.m. until capacity is reached.

Stargazing

10:00 p.m. - Midnight
Aditional Parking lot across from Visitor Center

Shuttle hours will be extended for the festival. As parking at the Visitor Center and evening program locations will be limited, we advise parking at the Shuttle Station or boarding from your campground in the park. Shuttles will run until 1 a.m.

Volunteers from the Salt Lake Astronomical Society point their telescopes at some of the night sky's most spectacular sights. White-light flashlights are prohibited due to their negative impact on night vision.

Daytime Activities

11:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Family Friendly activities in the Visitor Center plaza including booths from the James Webb Space Telescope team and University of Utah.

Keynote Programs

Tour of the Universe: You Are Here

Dean Regas, Cincinnati Observatory
8:30 p.m. 60 minutes
Rocket through space and sail among billions of stars and galaxies. Utilizing some amazing simulation software Dean Regas guides you through the mind-boggling scale of the universe. Along the way you’ll stop at the Moon and individual planets. Then you’ll make the jump to light speed and head to interstellar space and see all the galaxies in the universe. Don’t worry, he’ll have you back home in time for dessert.
Location given at sign-up. This program requires reservations, which can be made same-day at the Visitor Center Information Tent beginning at 8 a.m. until capacity is reached.

Unfold the Universe with NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope

Bill Ochs, Webb Project Manager & Begoña Vila, Webb Instrument Systems Engineer

8:30 p.m. 90 minutes
An in-depth talk about the engineering and science behind the newly launched James Webb Space Telescope. Learn about the Webb in-space deployments and the first images coming this summer!

Location given at sign-up. This program requires reservations, which can be made same-day at the Visitor Center Information Tent beginning at 8 a.m. until capacity is reached.

Stargazing

10:00 p.m. - Midnight
Aditional Parking lot across from Visitor Center

Shuttle hours will be extended for the festival. As parking at the Visitor Center and evening program locations will be limited, we advise parking at the Shuttle Station or boarding from your campground in the park. Shuttles will run until 1 a.m.

Volunteers from the Salt Lake Astronomical Society point their telescopes at some of the night sky's most spectacular sights. White-light flashlights are prohibited due to their negative impact on night vision.

 

Map of 2022 Festival Activities

Click the text above for a map of 2022 festival activities.

 

Star Shuttle

Each night of the festival, shuttle service will continue to limited locations between 8 p.m. and 12:15 a.m. Parking will be limited at Evening Program and Telescope locations, so we strongly recommend parking at the Shuttle Station in Bryce Canyon City (2 miles north of park entrance) and riding the Star Shuttle into the park. Shuttles arrive at each stop every 15 minutes. Use of the Star Shuttle is free with park admission.

Star Shuttle Stops

  • Shuttle Station
  • Ruby's Inn Campground
  • Visitor Center (Telescope Viewing Site)
  • Sunset Campground
  • Bryce Lodge
  • North Campground Outdoor Theater
 

Daytime Activities

Daytime activities include activity tents, solar telescopes, and other opportunities open to the public at the Visitor Center between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. each day of the festival.

 

Evening Programs

Evening Programs are the only festival events that require a free ticket. Pick up a ticket the day of the program at the Visitor Center Information Desk. Programs are held at 8:30 p.m. and 9 p.m. each night, and the location is shared when you pick up your ticket. See Schedule of Events above for program details.

 

Telescope Stargazing Site

This year's telescope site will be located within the park across the street from the Visitor Center. It will be open each night of the festival from 10 p.m. to midnight and is open to the public. We are excited to share the night sky with our visitors, and thank our partners at the Salt Lake Astronomical Society and University of Utah for their participation, expertise, and generosity with their telescopes.

Weather Cancellations

In the event that weather requires cancelling telescope viewing, we will post an update no later than 9 p.m. to our Twitter page. No account is needed to view the page.

Transportation

Parking at the Visitor Center will be very limited, so we strongly recommend parking at the Shuttle Station and riding the Star Shuttle into the park. If you're staying at a park campground or the Lodge, you can pick the shuttle up there. The last shuttle bus leaving the Visitor Center will depart each night around 12:15 a.m. and we'll ensure everyone gets where they need to go.

Disabled Parking

Disabled parking spaces are available at the Visitor Center and the Telescope site. Star shuttles are also fully accessible. If Visitor Center spaces are full, a ranger can direct you to disabled parking spaces at the turn for North Campground (first left past Visitor Center).

What to Bring

Overnight temperatures are typically in the 40s Fahrenheit. A light jacket is a good idea if you plan to be outside for awhile after dark. While red light flashlights are okay, we ask that no white light flashlights be used due to their negative effect on night vision. After using a white light, it can take well over thirty minutes for your eyes to begin to readjust to the profound darkness of Bryce Canyon.

Amenities

Portapotties will be available at the Telescope Site. No other amenities will be available.

 
Milky way galaxy and a sky of stars above a silhouette of rock spires and cliffs

NPS/Keith Moore

 

Last updated: July 19, 2022

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Contact Info

Mailing Address:

P.O Box 640201
Bryce , UT 84764

Phone:

435 834-5322
Phones are answered and messages returned as soon as possible as staffing allows.

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