Flagstaff AZ (April 30, 2013) – This summer, from May through July, the Flagstaff Area National Monuments and Lowell Observatory will be offering a variety of programs and activities designed to introduce families to the science and wonder of the night sky.
Members of Lowell’s education outreach team, National Park Rangers, and volunteers from the National Park Service Astro VIP program and the Coconino Astronomical Society are all working together to create these unique family science activities. The events will take place at Walnut Canyon National Monument and Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument. Both parks are normally closed at night.
“We want families to fall in love with the amazing night skies and wonderful night time ecosystems of the National Parks and to take that love back to their own backyards and communities,” said Park Ranger Holly Richards.
This will be the first year that Lowell and the Flagstaff Area National Monuments are working together. “We are pleased to be working with Flagstaff Area National Monuments folks. It is a great fit for both as we strive to interest young and old alike in the world around us here,” said Charles Wendt, Deputy Director for Advancement at Lowell Observatory.
All of the night sky programs and activities are free of charge. The entrance fee for day time activities is $5.00 per person for visitors 16 and over. America the Beautiful Passes are honored and sold. For information, contact Holly Richards at email@example.com.
“Bump in the Moonlight” Family Science Nights at Walnut Canyon
(Reservations required, call 928-526-3367)
Learn about the moon and everything that goes “bump” in the moonlight at Walnut Canyon. Lowell Observatory educators and Park Rangers will offer hands-on activities designed to introduce families to night time ecosystems – from the craters of the moon to the sound of bats whooshing by.
- Saturday, May 25, 2013: Activities begin at 7:30 PM and 9:00 PM
- Saturday, June 22, 2013: Activities begin at 7:30 PM and 9:00 PM
- Saturday, July 20, 2013: Activities begin at 7:30 PM and 9:00 PM
“Explore the Stars” Family Astronomy Nights at Sunset Crater Volcano
The Sunset Crater Volcano Astronomy Nights will feature telescope viewing, constellation programs, and family back yard astronomy activities. All the events are geared towards helping families learn how to observe and appreciate the night sky wherever they are. Learn how to use a planisphere and binoculars to find deep-sky objects, look through our telescopes, and learn about the importance of dark skies. Activities will take place at the Lava Flow Trail and parking lot.
- Saturday, May 4: Astronomy presentation at 6:30 PM, telescope viewing from 7:00 – 10:00 PM
- Saturday, June 1: Astronomy presentation at 7:00 PM, telescope viewing from 7:30 – 10:30 PM
- Saturday, July 13: Astronomy presentation at 7:30 PM, telescope viewing from 8:00 – 11:00 PM
Solar Viewing at Sunset Crater Volcano
What do thermonuclear fusion, cookies, and Sunset Crater Volcano have in common? Come out to the Lava Flow Trail at Sunset Crater Volcano to learn all about how the sun affects our daily lives. Normal park entrance fees will apply. There is no additional charge for the Solar Viewing activities. Caution: Never look directly at the sun without special eye protection. Sunglasses are not sufficient.
- Saturday, May 4, 2013, 1:00 PM – 4:00 PM
- Saturday, June 1, 2013, 1:00 PM – 4:00 PM
- Saturday, July 13, 2013, 1:00 PM – 4:00 PM
What to Know Before You Go
For the “Bump in the Moonlight” program at Walnut Canyon, be sure to call ahead for reservations. For night time events, lighting will be very limited. Families should plan to bring their own flashlights – preferably with red light. Once you arrive, use caution until your eyes adjust to the reduced light. Nighttime temperatures around Flagstaff can be quite cool, even in the summer.
Star Gazing Tip: Our night vision is very sensitive to white light. For any nighttime event, try using a red-light flashlight. You will be surprised at how many more stars you can see. You can make a red-light flashlight by covering an ordinary flashlight in red cellophane.
Lowell Observatory is located one mile west of downtown Flagstaff, atop Mars Hills Road. You can tour the historic grounds during the day and learn about important discoveries our astronomers are still making. At night, gaze up at the sky through a variety of telescopes, including the historic 24” Clark refractor. Experience our exhibit hall, featuring rotating exhibits, and the Starry Skies Shop, northern Arizona’s number one science gift shop. For more information, visit lowell.edu.
Walnut Canyon National Monument is located 7.5 miles east of downtown Flagstaff via I-40 and can be reached at 928-526-3367 and on the web at www.nps.gov/waca. Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument is located 12 miles north of Flagstaff via Hwy 89 and can be reached at 928-526-0502 and www.nps.gov/sucr.