Star Parties

Dark starry skies over people looking through telescopes lit up by red lights.
Milky way over Point Supreme at Cedar Breaks.

NPS Photo by Zach Schierl

Cedar Breaks is the 16th of the 417 National Park Service (NPS) units to be designated as an International Dark Sky Park, and the first in southwestern Utah. Additionally, in 2016 readers of USA Today voted Cedar Breaks as the "Best National Park Night Experience." To celebrate and share the beauty of our night skies, Cedar Breaks holds a series of astronomy programs (also known as "star parties") throughout the year.
 
An arch of glittering stars over trees and red cliffs, with telescopes in the foreground.
Milky way over Point Supreme

NPS Photo by Zach Schierl

Summer Star Parties

To celebrate and share the beauty of our night skies, Cedar Breaks holds a series of astronomy programs (also known as "star parties") throughout the summer season.

Park rangers and volunteer astronomers host each star party at Point Supreme Overlook. The program begins just before sunset with a ranger-led presentation on astronomy & the dark skies of Cedar Breaks. As the Sun sets and daylight fades, you'll get to view a variety of celestial wonders through several large telescopes. Depending on the night, you might see craters & mountain ranges on the Moon, the rings of Saturn, Jupiter's Galilean moons, star clusters, galaxies, nebulae, and more! Once the skies are completely dark, rangers lead laser-powered constellation tours and discuss the mythology of the heavens.

Star parties are held every Saturday evening from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Additional star parties are held for special events (such as meteor showers or eclipses) and as staffing permits. Start times vary depending on the month. Check out our upcoming events calendar for details on upcoming star parties!

Star parties are free of charge and generally last 2-3 hours. Reservations are not needed, just show up! Feel free to drop in for a half hour or stay the entire time. Cedar Breaks is home to the highest regularly scheduled astronomy program (10,350 feet) in the entire National Park system. Please dress warmly for the cool night air at this high elevation! You may also wish to bring a lawn or camp chair as seating at Point Supreme is limited.

Please Note: Telescope viewing may be cancelled due to inclement weather. In this event, rangers will lead an indoor astronomy presentation at the Cedar Breaks Ranger Station (200 yards south of the visitor center). For more information, call the visitor center at 435-586-0787 ex. 4031 (during the summer season only).

You can also check the night sky and weather forecast using the links below.

National Weather Service Forecast for Point Supreme

Clear Sky Chart (Astronomy Weather Forecast) for Point Supreme

 
People standing under a dark starry sky on snow. A green laser is pointing up into the sky.
Winter Star Party at Brian Head resort.

Photo copyright by Mike Saemisch

Winter Star Parties

Cedar Breaks may be snowbound in the winter months, but that doesn't stop our rangers from sharing the wonders of the night sky. Cedar Breaks National Monument host a series of star parties at various locations during the winter months. Visit our upcoming events calendar for times and dates.

Winter star parties are free of charge and are two hours in duration. Please dress extremely warmly for the cold winter night air at this high elevation! Astronomy is a relatively sedentary activity;as a rule of thumb, in order to be comfortable you should dress for at least 20 degrees colder than the outside air temperature (i.e., if it is 30° F, dress as if it is 10° F)

Despite the cold temperatures, the list of winter celestial sights is long. The Orion Nebula, star clusters, galaxies, and the winter Milky Way are among the jewels of the sky you might see during a winter star party.

Visit our upcoming events calendar for times and dates of upcoming winter star parties.

 

Last updated: December 1, 2017

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

Cedar Breaks National Monument: Administrative Office
2390 West Highway 56
Suite #11

Cedar City, UT 84720

Phone:

(435) 586-9451 x4420

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