Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument has recently been recognized by the International Dark Sky Association (IDA) as the Parashant International Night Sky Province-Window to the Cosmos. The million-plus acre Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument located in northwestern Arizona remains one of the most remote areas in the contiguous United States and earned the International Dark Sky Park Gold-tier status, the highest level of award representing the darkest skies.
The Monument and surrounding geographic region are recognized for remarkable combinations of high elevation plateaus, excellent air quality, sparse population and prevalent cloud-free weather which produce some of the best opportunities to visually observe and enjoy dark night skies. Starry night skies and natural darkness are important resources and recognized monument objects of Parashant.
Parashant National Monument is a Service First organization jointly managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and National Park Service (NPS). The IDA Dark Sky designation is a first for a BLM area and the fifth NPS site to be designated, joining Natural Bridges National Monument, Big Bend National Park, Death Valley National Park and Chaco Culture National Historical Park.
The designation provides local communities with an increased economic opportunity for attracting more eco-tourists, researchers, and the scientific community who seek to study astronomy under the Monument’s pristine dark sky conditions. It also will lead to more educational programs for local youth like the “Go Wild for Astronomy!” festival.
Activities at the “Go Wild for Astronomy!” festival 9:00AM to 1:00 PM
See the Sun - Participants will have the opportunity to view the sun safely through a solar telescope and learn about prominences, sunspots and different types of light.
Don’t Light Up the Night Sky - Night sky friendly lighting displays show practical cost efficient ways each of us can take to save energy and make a dramatic difference in the darkness of our night sky.
Moon Dance - Learn about the changing phases of the moon and how to predict the number of days until the next full or new moon.
Planisphere Predictions - Make a planisphere (star wheel) and learn how to predict where and when your favorite constellation can be discovered in the sky.
Nocturnal Creatures - Learn why dark night sky is so important for certain animals to survive.
Planet Mnemonic - Learn a fun way for remembering the order of the planets in our solar system.
Step Into the Solar System - Take a planet walk and learn about the planets in our solar system and their distance from the sun.
Meteor Mania - Touch a meteorite and learn about how they are made and reach the earth’s surface.
A Star is Born - Just like plants and animals, stars have life cycles. Come find out the life cycle of a star including protostars, nebulas, blackholes and supernovae.
Starry Starry Night - Bryce Canyon National Park Rangers will set up a mobile star lab that will allow viewing of planets and constellations under a domed tent.
How Light Affects the Night - International Dark Sky Association night sky education exhibit focuses on the myths of nighttime lighting, security and safety, and the effects light pollution has on the environment.
10:00 Presentation of Parashant International Night Sky Province Designation
Welcome, opening remarks, awards, poster unveiling
11:00 A Southern Paiute Sky Story - Why the Moon Paints Her Face Black
Book reading and signing by Eleanor Tom and Chloe Valentine Brent (books and posters available for sale at Dixie Arizona Strip Interpretive Association table)
12:00 Junior Astronomer Pledge Ceremony and Presentation of Badges
Participate in astronomy activities to get pledged in and earn a badge
Directions to Dixie State University President’s Grove: From I-15 St. George Blvd exit head west to 700 East. Turn South on 700 East and follow to 100 South turning left. Park in the North parking lot and walk South between the science buildings to Presidents Grove.