Astronomy & Night Sky Programs

Glowing Milky Way above hoodoos at Mossy Cave
Milky Way Galaxy above hoodoos at Mossy Cave Trail.

Photo by Derek Demeter June 2015

 
Bryce Canyon Astronomy Logo
Bryce Canyon Astronomy Logo

NPS design by Kevin Poe & Joel Allen

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

The night sky at Bryce is so dark we can see thousands stars on a moonless night! Here the Milky Way extends from horizon to horizon like a vast silver rainbow. Planets glow brightly in the sky and starlight illuminates the night.

No visit to Bryce Canyon is complete without joining the Astronomy Rangers for one of their educational and entertaining celebrations of natural darkness. Check our program schedule or come in to the Visitor Center to find out when and how you can join us for an awesome astronomy experience.

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

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


 
Venus and Mercury glow against deep blue skies at the 2015 Astrofest
Venus and Mercury during the Astronomy Festival 2015.

NPS Photo

Astronomy Program Schedule
On average Bryce Canyon offers about 100 astronomy programs per year, presented by our outstanding astronomy rangers and volunteers. Our skies are always beautiful, but some would say the best time to come is when the sky is darkest -- during the week of the new moon or the week prior to the new moon. Join us to celebrate the wonders of the night sky - program subjects have included the life cycles of stars, space exploration missions, the stories written in the constellations, and more!

Most astronomy programs are followed by stargazing with telescopes. Check the program schedule or come to the Visitor Center for more information. Programs are subject to weather and may be cancelled in the event of adverse conditions.

No Reservations are Required
Just arrive 15-30 minutes early to ensure getting a good seat.

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 skies.

Club members occasionally join us for our weekly astronomy programs and come in force for our annual Astronomy Festival. SLAS members graciously share their personally owned 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.

 
Assorted telescopes are set up for stargazing at the 2015 Astrofest
Salt Lake Astronomical Society prepares  their telescopes for stargazing.

NPS photo by Kevin Doxstater

BRYCE CANYON ASTRONOMY FESTIVAL
Every Summer Bryce Canyon offers a 4-day Astronomy Festival where amateur astronomers from the Salt Lake Astronomical Society assist Bryce Canyon's rangers and volunteers 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
- Astronomy-themed ranger programs
- "Star Lab" Planetarium
- Workshops: Learn to navigate the sky with a planisphere
- Constellation Tours
- Solar Viewing

Visit our Astronomy Festival page to see past activity schedules and get updates on future events.

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

Photo courtesy of Dark Ranger Telescope Tours, LLC

FULL MOON HIKES
When:
Full Moon nights
Where:
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.
 
Volunteer looks through solar viewing scope
A volunteer observes the Sun safely during Astrofest 2015

NPS

SOLAR VIEWING
When:
Weekly during Summer season, weather and staff permitting
Where: Varies
Duration: Varies
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 take a safe look at our Sun -- the bringer of life and the giver of death!

Last updated: September 29, 2018

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

P.O Box 640201
Bryce, UT 84764

Phone:

(435) 834-5322

Contact Us