Hundreds of visitors from around the region participated in many activities as part of the second annual Black Canyon Astronomy Festival, held over four days during the last week of July.
Daytime programs included solar scope viewing, “Learning the Sky” workshops and “Planet Walks.” During “Astro Kids” activities, children learned about the effects of ultraviolet light, the nature of meteors and meteorites, and characteristics of planets in the solar system.
Evenings were equally busy, with two programs per night followed by night sky viewing. Members from the Black Canyon Astronomy Society, a local park partner, provided important help with the programs and night sky viewing. This allowed many visitors to connect to the night sky by seeing constellations, distant galaxies, and Saturn.
Retired supervisory park ranger Tom Haraden provided a keynote program entitled “Bats, Masters of the Night.” Haraden, who has researched bats for 20 years and is a certified bat rehabilitation specialist, immersed his audience in the science and values of these night mammals and dark night skies.
Park staff made outreach efforts to local communities to introduce neighbors to the activities of the festival. They pulled out all of the stops to provide extra opportunities for the public to find meanings in the night sky and the objects that make up the cosmos.
Additional support came from the NPS Night Sky Program, whose web page can be found at the link below.