Night Sky

This weekend Grand Teton National Park is hosting an event that will help the public view the night sky, and more.

August 9, 2018
Writer: Rachel Wynder

Fewer than 100 years ago, it was easy to look up from anywhere and see a spectacular night sky.

Today with the increased use of artificial light at night, our view to the universe is impaired.

This Saturday, Grand Teton National Park and Jackson Hole’s Astronomy Club are hosting an event that will help the public view the night sky, and more. From noon until night on Astronomy Day, you can learn about stars, star clusters, sunspots and galaxies.

“It’s an opportunity to learn more,” said Denise Germann, spokeswoman for Grand Teton National Park. “And maybe see something you’ve never seen.”

At noon, you can watch the critically-acclaimed documentary “The City Dark.”

“[The movie] talks about dark skies, cities and how we see lights on a regular basis across the country,” Germann said.

From 2 to 5 p.m., Grand Teton National Park has special filters on its telescopes that allow you to view sunspots safely. Sunspots are dark spots that appear on the sun caused by heat transfer from magnetic forces.

Former astronomy professor and current park ranger Robert Hoyle will present, “Watchers of the Night Sky.” You can learn about the history of astronomy, and how sky watching has evolved over the years.

At night, several large telescopes will be set up to view stars, galaxies, and nebulae. Just make sure you dress warmly as evening temperatures at Colter Bay can get chilly.

“I think national parks are a great opportunity to view the night sky,” Germann said. “And it’s a great opportunity to learn about what you can do at home to help protect that valuable resource of a dark sky.”

You can find more information about Astronomy Day here.