Friday, June 23, 2017

Utah: Astronomy Festival

We had the most wonderful time at the Bryce Canyon National Park Astronomy Festival this evening. We went to a great keynote talk by Dean Regas, the Outreach Astronomer from the Cincinnati Observatory. Regas talked about our place in the galaxy, the distance between planets and their orbits, other galaxies; he was funny and entertaining and his talk was easy to follow, but not dumbed down.

After Regas' talk, we went stargazing at the telescope field. Perhaps a dozen or so volunteers from Salt Lake Astronomical Society had brought their telescopes, each of which was directed at a different constellation, planet, or galaxy. We both saw Jupiter and Saturn, and Ed saw the Whirlpool Galaxy. Several rangers were on hand giving constellation tours throughout the night as well. The skies were clear, and no bright lights were anywhere to be found, although the rangers used the occasional red lights, to guide us, and there were small luminescent cones throughout the field. Busses were nearly always on hand to transport visitors everyone was friendly and welcoming.

It was a beautiful night, cool but not cold, and the night sky was very, very clear. Apparently Bryce Canyon in the third darkest sky in the continental United States.

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