On September 12th, 2015 the Petrified Forest National Park held its first overnight “Night Sky in the Park” event. The event included programs provided by Dr. Larry Behers, an astronomer with Project Astro which is funded in part by the National Optical Astronomy Observatory (NOAO) in Tucson.
The programs included discussions on: The sun, lunar phases and eclipses, reasons for the seasons, saving the night sky, what is gravity and constellations/mythology. Dr. Behers has spent a lot of time in schools at all grades, as well as a merit badge counselor for the astronomy merit badge for the Boy Scouts of America.
With a total of 98 participants which included a group of 10 overnight campers, the park has slated for October 19th, 2015 to hold their next overnight event. Dr. Behers will be on hand to provide the same program topics for further discussion.
This next event is scheduled to align with President Obamas ‘White House Astronomy Night: A Celebration of Science, Technology, and Space.’ This event will bring together scientists, engineers, and visionaries from astronomy and the space industry to share their experiences with students and teachers as they spend an evening stargazing from the South Lawn.
In addition to inspiring students and stargazers from across the country to learn about the newest astronomical discoveries and the technologies that enable us to explore and live in space, we are continuing progress on the President’s call to action to expand access and opportunities for students and adults to participate in the wonders of science and space.
Everyone is welcome to come join us for our next overnight “Night Sky in the Park’ event on October 19th, 2015.
Events will include star gazing and Jr. Ranger Night Explorer kids’ activities. Park Ranger Kip Woolford will have a telescope set up along with several other telescopes from local area astronomer enthusiasts for public viewing of the night sky. Night sky photographers are welcome as well.
Overnight camping is not required (once you leave the park you will not be allowed back into the park). Overnight campers participants must arrive in the park prior to park closing (6:00 PM Mountain Standard/Pacific Daylight Time). RSVP required no later than October 18th at 5:00 PM Mountain Standard/Pacific Daylight Time) to: Kip Woolford at 928-524-6228 Ext. 273 or firstname.lastname@example.org
There are restrooms and picnic tables on-site but no R.V. hook-ups or showers. R.V.s and trailers are welcome up to a 15 vehicle maximum on a first-come-first-served basis. Open fires are prohibited! Fall is upon us, so make sure to dress warm, bring plenty of water and food. Meals are not provided. Bug spray, a headlamp, flashlight (red gel filter to preserve night sight during sky observation), and closed-toed shoes are recommended.