Grand Teton astronomy day offers sky-gazing fun

The Big Dipper is visible over the Tetons in Grand Teton National Park.

NPS photo by Bob Hoyle

The Big Dipper is visible over the Tetons in Grand Teton National Park.

Grand Teton National Park will join the Jackson Hole Astronomy Club to host the annual Grand Teton Astronomy Day on Saturday, August 23. Family-oriented activities are planned, offering fun and educational opportunities for learning about constellations, star clusters, sunspots, galaxies, nebulae and more.

Throughout the day, astronomy themed videos will play in the Colter Bay Visitor Center auditorium, including a showing of the award winning documentary, “The City Dark: A search for night on a planet that never sleeps.” Outdoor events begin at 2 p.m. at the Colter Bay Visitor Center and end with a late-night star-gazing session on Jackson Lake, according to a statement released by the park’s public affairs office.

To highlight Grand Teton Astronomy Day, specially filtered telescopes will be available to safely view sunspots and other solar features from 2 p.m. until 5 p.m. on the back deck of the Colter Bay Visitor Center. At the same time, children and adults can discover fun and fascinating information at exhibits and information tables.

At 9 p.m. Bob Hoyle, former professor of astronomy and current park ranger naturalist, will present an evening program at the Colter Bay amphitheater titled, “Watchers of the Sky.” This presentation focuses on the cultural history of astronomy and how early sky-watching evolved into the sciences of astronomy and astrophysics.

As a finale, several large telescopes will be set up from 10 p.m. to midnight along the shore of Colter Bay for participants to view stars, galaxies, nebulae and other celestial objects. Park officials advise evening program attendees to dress warmly, as evening temperatures at Colter Bay can be quite chilly, even in August.

More information about Astronomy Day, please phone the Colter Bay Visitor Center at 307.739.3594.

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