Astronomy

Catch the stars in the Sand Dunes

Staff report
Posted 8/22/18

Enjoy phenomenal star watching and deep sky viewing at the amateur astronomy night in the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve from 8:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday, (Sept. 8). It's a short …

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Astronomy

Catch the stars in the Sand Dunes

Posted

Enjoy phenomenal star watching and deep sky viewing at the amateur astronomy night in the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve from 8:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday, (Sept. 8). It's a short two-hour drive from Taos to the park and well worth the trip.

The stargazing takes place at the South Ramada picnic area near the Dunes Parking Lot. Park staff and volunteers will have telescopes set up for planetary and deep-sky object viewing throughout the event. Ranger-led tours of the night sky begin at the South Ramada at 8:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.

Pick up astronomy information, handouts and a Junior Ranger Night Explorer activity book at staffed tables.

Stargazing is free. The regular park entrance fee of $20 a vehicle still applies. So pile everyone in the car and get to the entrance station while it is open that Saturday.

In addition, America the Beautiful passes are accepted at the park for entry. Camping at the park is permitted at the Pinon Flats campground, but sites must be reserved four days to six months in advance at recreation.gov.

The stargazing event will take place as long as clear skies are in view. Visitors should bring red-light flashlights and headlamps to protect night vision. If you don't have a red-light flashlight, the park's welcome table has red cellophane and rubber bands available to convert regular white-light flashlights.

Wear layers and warm clothes as the nighttime temperatures do get cold.

Great Sand Dunes protects some of Colorado's darkest night skies marked by incredible views of the Milky Way, stretching across the sky.

For more information about this event or to get involved as an amateur astronomy group or club, contact Kyle Ackerman at (719) 378-6395 or Kyle_Ackerman@nps.gov.

You can also visit the park's website at nps.gov/grsa

- Staff report

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