Astronomy & Night Sky Programs

Mossy Cave and the Milky Way Galaxy
Milky Way Galaxy above Mossy Cave Trail at night.

Photo by Derek Demeter June 2015

Bryce Canyon Astronomy Logo
Bryce Canyon Astronomy Logo

NPS design by Kevin Poe & Joel Allen

Astronomy Nights
Bryce Canyon is the ultimate place to learn about and enjoy the splendor of the night sky. Far from the light pollution of civilization, and protected by a special force of park rangers and volunteer astronomers, Bryce Canyon is the last grand sanctuary of natural darkness.

The night sky at Bryce is so dark we can see 7500 stars on a moonless night! Here the Milky Way extends from horizon to horizon like a vast silver rainbow! Here Venus, and even Jupiter, are bright enough to cause you to cast a shadow!

No visit to Bryce Canyon is complete without joining the Astronomy Rangers for one of their educational and entertaining celebrations of natural darkness. Review our schedule below and plan your trip to the Colorado Plateau and Desert Southwest so that you can join us for astronomy.

Looking for total night-sky immersion? Join us for our Annual Astronomy Festival!

To learn more about our night sky, visit the links below.

Ranger Ben Benson with Telescope night sky
Ranger Ben Benson with Thor 17 DOB and the night sky.

NPS Photo


Where: Check at Visitor Center upon arrival
Duration: 1 hr. multimedia, telescopes 10 p.m. - 11:30 p.m.
Cherish this last grand sanctuary of natural darkness by attending a multimedia show followed by stargazing with telescopes (weather permitting). Most nights we offer two different multimedia shows concurrently. Plan your visit using the generic schedule below. Upon your arrival, stop at the Bryce Canyon Visitor Center to pick the program of your choice and learn whereabouts of its starting location.

Watch this Video to learn more about our Astronomy / Night Sky Presentations

Venus and Mercury during Astrofest 2015 Brian B. Roanhorse
Venus and Mercury during the Astronomy Festival 2015.

NPS Photo

On average Bryce Canyon offers about 100 astronomy programs per year! But the best time to come is when are sky is darkest -- during the week of the new moon or the week prior to the new moon.

All astronomy programs are followed by stargazing (weather permitting). Multimedia Programs are NEVER canceled due to bad weather. Only the stargazing half of the evening may be subject to weather related cancellations.

Just arrive 15-30 minutes early to ensure getting a good seat. During Spring, Summer, and Fall we usually often two different astronomy presentation simultaneously. Each ranger has at least two different astronomy presentations he/she can provide so topics vary from night to night.

Check at the Bryce Canyon Visitor Center upon your arrival to decide which astronomy related topic being offered is of most interest to you and where to go for its starting location.

SLAS Icon logo Salt Lake Astronomical Society

Special Guest Astronomers
Salt Lake Astronomical Society (SLAS) is Utah's largest league of amateur astronomers. Bryce Canyon National Park is proud to have SLAS as a long term partner in interpreting astronomy and furthering our efforts to protect natural dark sky.

Club members occasionally join us for our weekly astronomy programs and come in force for our annual Astronomy Festival. SLAS members graciously share with our visiting public their personally owned big telescopes and their love of the night sky. Click here to learn more about SLAS.

Be A Volunteer!
If you are interested in sharing your love of astronomy and natural dark skies, consider applying for a position as part of Bryce Canyon's Volunteer Astronomer Corps. Click here for more information.

Fifty plus telescopes
Salt Lake Astronomical Society prepares  their telescopes for stargazing.

NPS photo by Kevin Doxstater

Every Summer Bryce Canyon offers a 4-day astronomy festival where amateur astronomers from the Salt Lake Astronomical Society assist Bryce Canyon's rangers in hosting a world-class public stargazing event. This annual extravaganza offers more than just the opportunity to look through huge telescopes, also featured at each festival are:

- Famous astronomy/night sky guest speakers
- Star Lab
- Learn the sky with a planisphere workshops
- Green laser constellation tours
- Solar Viewing

(Click here)

Full Moon Hike Ranger figure
Park Ranger about to lead a Full Moon Hike.

Photo courtesy of Dark Ranger Telescope Tours, LLC

Full Moon nights
Announced only to ticket holders
Duration:1-2 miles, 2-3 hours
Join one of Bryce Canyon's Astronomy Rangers for a nocturnal adventure. These highly popular hikes are only offered during the full moon. Flashlights are prohibited and "lug traction" footwear is required.

A limited number of tickets are available for each hike - please visit the Full Moon Hike page for details.
Solar Astronomy 2015
Peering at the sun


3 times per week, seasonally
Where: Varies
Duration: Come & go as you please.
Remember how Mom always said you shouldn't look at the sun and never through binoculars or a telescope? Well it's okay to do it with our special solar telescopes! Look for our staffed solar viewing station in front of the visitor center where you can get a safe look at our Sun -- the bringer of life and the giver of death!

Last updated: April 20, 2017

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

P.O Box 640201
Bryce, UT 84764


(435) 834-5322

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