Bandelier Hosts Fall Astronomy Programs

One of the big telescopes that will be available for star and moon viewing. NPS photo

Special telescopes for safe viewing of the sun. NPS photo 

BANDELIER News:

With the fine autumn evenings coming up, Bandelier National Monument has announced continuing opportunities to enjoy astronomy with the park’s Night Sky Rangers.

In August, the last regular Astronomy Night for this summer is Saturday, Aug. 22 at Juniper Campground. A night sky program begins at 8 p.m., followed by stargazing using giant telescopes and others as well. 

Thursday, Aug. 27, a Moonlight Walk will be offered beginning at 8 p.m., out along the Tyuonyi Overlook Trail. This is an easy 2.5 mile walk with stops along the way, lit only by moonlight. Numbers are limited, so reservations are required.

September will provide a real variety of chances to explore the cosmos. Bandelier’s first “Night Sky Fiesta” is Sept. 10, 11 and 12, with guest speakers, special planetarium programs at the Los Alamos Nature Center, solar viewing and scale model solar system walks, as well as stargazing with as many as 8-12 giant telescopes available.

Saturday, Sept. 19 is International Observe the Moon Night. It will feature a special lunar program at 7 p.m. at Juniper Campground Amphitheater with volunteer and selenographer Kelly Ricks, followed by enjoying the glow of Earth’s largest natural satellite through telescopes trained on “La Luna”. 

To wrap up the month, Sunday, Sept. 27, there is a total lunar eclipse at moonrise. Rangers will be at the Juniper Campground Amphitheater parking lot observing the eclipse with several giant telescopes and providing other moon-related activities.

In October, Bandelier will celebrate the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta by holding special Night Sky Programs 6:30-10 p.m. Saturdays Oct. 3 and Oct. 10. These will be moonless nights, just right for joining the Night Sky Ranger for an astronomy program followed by more opportunities for telescope stargazing.

Bandelier National Monument also will offer a number of activities this autumn besides those related to astronomy:

Nightwalks each Friday in August (reservations required);

Evening Ranger Talks at the Juniper Campground Amphitheater Aug. 15 and 29 and Sept. 5;

Sunset at Tsankawi, a new 2-hour walk on the loop trail at the Tsankawi section of the park Aug. 23 and 30 and Sept. 6, 13, 20 and 27 (reservations required); and

Crafts demonstrations at the Visitor Center during the day weekends in August, at Fall Fiesta Sept. 19 and Opera on the Rocks Sept. 26. 

For more information, or to make reservations for the Aug. 27 Moonlight Hike, the Nightwalks, or the Sunset at Tsankawi walks, call the Bandelier Visitor Center at 505.672.861×517; 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily. Additional information on the Night Sky activities also is available at www.nps.gov/band/planyourvisit/night-sky-programs.htm. For general park information, check the Bandelier website at nps.gov/band, or follow the Facebook page at BandelierNPS.

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