Every year the Grand Canyon holds a week long star party event. And this year was extra special because the Grand Canyon National park is officially 100 years old.
I spent five nights at the Grand Canyon for the event and four of the five nights were clear. Three of the nights were spectacular with extremely clear skies, very dark moonless nights and a Milky Way that really popped. It was a great week for me and for the astronomers and guests that showed up for the event.
(Astronomers setting up for another night of star-gazing.)
Talking to a Park Ranger I learned that there were between 60 and 70 telescopes at the week long event and an estimated 10,000 visitors.
This next photo shows the star party under full swing and under the Milky Way.
Every evening they had a special event in the visitor center usually revolving around astrophotography and throughout the evening, every half hour after dark they gave constellation tours which were very popular with the public.
(Presentation on Astrophotography by National Parks at Night )
I really enjoyed myself at the event and I spent a lot of time talking to astronomers during the daylight hours. Then I spent hours each night looking through the various telescopes and taking photos of the night sky and the Milky Way. Here is one of the photos I took. The really bright star is Jupiter.
(Milky Way at the Grand Canyon – 15 second exposure)
(The Milky Way at Sagittarius)
Watch this 20 time lapse of the Milky Way as it moves over a rock formation at the Grand Canyon near Mather Point.