Community News

News Release: Grand Canyon's 2020 Star Party will be Hosted Virtually

June 10, 2020

 Grand Canyon, Ariz. - The 30th annual Grand Canyon Star Party will be held virtually June 13-20, 2020. While the on-site event at Grand Canyon National Park has been cancelled on both rims due to concerns over COVID-19 this year, the park hopes to bring the wonders of the night sky into the virtual realm through a series of video premieres on Grand Canyon's official Facebook account.

Each evening from June 13-20, Grand Canyon National Park will premiere two videos at 6 and 7 p.m. PDT on our Facebook platform. Kicking off the Star Party is John Barentine, who has a doctorate in astronomy and is the director of public policy for the International Dark Sky Association, with a talk about "Dark Skies in Isolation: Why Protecting the Night Sky is More Important Than Ever."

The weeklong Star Party Speaker Series will feature eight special guest speakers. Each speaker will present their program over a video-conferencing feed. Other guest speakers include Amber Straughn, from NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center and has a doctorate in physics, and Dean Regas from the Cincinnati Observatory.

Astronomers will connect video cameras to their telescopes and pick out 10 to 12 celestial objects over the course of 60 to 90 minutes. Join astronomers from across the country as they develop real time astrophotographs of galaxies, nebulae, globular clusters, asterisms, and much more. The astronomers and speakers will populate the chat rooms during the premieres to answer questions. 

National parks such as Grand Canyon help protect some of the last remaining dark skies in this country. Grand Canyon National Park was officially certified as an International Dark Sky Park last year. In the coming years, the park plans on making 90% of the lights dark-sky compliant. The amount of lights inventoried and retrofitted in this process undoubtedly makes Grand Canyon National Park one of the largest, most complex, International Dark Sky Parks in the world. 

This event is hosted by the National Park Service, the Tucson Amateur Astronomy Association, Focus Astronomy and the Grand Canyon Conservancy.

The Grand Canyon Star Party schedule is available on our website at: