While we have had more opportunities to see planets this month than usual, it’s not the same as looking up and seeing a sky full of stars. But this week, thanks to the Grand Canyon National Park, you can attend their annual “Star Party,” which is being held online through June 20. Here’s what you need to know.
Between June 13-20, 2020, the Grand Canyon National Park is hosting a weeklong virtual event showcasing their amazing night sky. Typically, their yearly “Star Party” happens in person, but thanks to COVID-19, it — like so many other events — has moved online. And though that might be a bummer for those who wanted to attend the party live on-site, it’s also kind of nice that everyone else gets a chance to see this natural wonder.
Each night, the Grand Canyon National Park will release two videos. The first features a guest speaker giving a presentation on some topic related to space. Then, for the second video, astronomers connect video cameras to telescopes and identify 10-12 celestial objects to gaze at and discuss for between 60-90 minutes. (These presentations will take place in early morning or afternoon in Australia.)
If you’ve missed the first few days of the event, don’t worry — all of the previous videos live on the park’s Facebook page. But there’s something special about watching live. Not only will you know that you’re looking at the same sky as those who are also tuning in, but the astronomers will develop realtime astrophotographs of galaxies, nebulae, globular clusters, asterisms and more, right before your eyes. Also, both the guest speakers and astronomers will participate in a live chat to answer viewers’ questions.
Here is the full schedule of this week’s events, including links to each video and bios on the speakers and astronomers.