Cedar Breaks National Monument

Cedar Breaks National Monument

Astro-Tourism is Alive, Thriving in Southern Utah

May 10, 2010, 8:42 am

Dark night skies in some areas of the world are a thing of the past, however in Southern Utah, low light pollution creates a perfect environment for Astro-Tourism. “We are fortunate to have beautiful scenery in the daylight and access to stunning sky-capes at night”, according to Bonnie Char, Cedar City ~ Brian Head Tourism Bureau Public Relations Specialist. “Astro-Tourism is alive and thriving in Southern Utah”.

Each Monday at Southern Utah Univeristy’s Ashcroft Observatory, free star-gazing, located on the hilltop just south of the SUU Farm on Westview Drive (Hwy 56 W to Westview Drive). Open at 9pm to 11pm, interested parties should plan on arriving at the observatory just as the sun sets. For more information and time call (435) 586-1409.

Star Parties at Cedar Breaks National Monument – June through September 2010 “Star Parties” will be held at natural red rock wonder Cedar Breaks National Monument. Large telescopes will be brought to Point Supreme, the main look out point of the monument. Entrance to the monument is $4/ per person or National Park passes admits the holder and 3 guests. The Star Parties are free with entrance to Cedar Breaks. www.nps.gov/cebr

The dates for the Star Parties will be:

  • June 10,12, 14
  • July 8, 10, 12
  • August 7, 9, 11
  • September 6, 8, 10

Summer and Winter Solstice Events at Parowan Gap Petroglyphs Site – Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Parowan Gap is nationally recognized due to the number and quality of its petroglyphs. The site is heralded as a kind of “gallery” of exquisite and well-preserved American Indian rock carvings. Although there are several interesting theories about the writings, the true meaning of the petroglyphs remains a mystery. However, archaeoastronomy researcher Nowell L. “Nal” Morris and archeologist Garth Norman believe “the Gap” to be a natural solar and lunar calendar system with outcroppings and shadow markers. They believe that the Parowan Gap is a one of a kind phenomenon, even more unique than Stonehenge, because it is a naturally formed structure rather than man made.

A series of rock cairns provide alignment for sky watchers to witness the solstice sunsets directly between the “Gap”. Solstice events are free to the public.

Celebrate Summer Solstice, June 19, 2010, 7 PM at the Parowan Gap. Winter Solstice (weather permitting) will be Dec 18, 2010. Visit www.scenicsouthernutah.com

Read more here.