Grand Canyon Star Party
Each year, for one week, the National Forest
Service allows a group of amateur astronomers to set up their
telescopes for the public. The astronomers stay up far into the
night, as long as there are people there and objects to see, trying
to show the general public the splendor of the night sky. Since
1991, there has been a public star party at the South Rim, and
since 1994 one at the North Rim as well. These events were coordinated
to coincide with each other, the dark of the Moon and the busiest
time of year for the public. Sponsored by the Tucson Amateur Astronomers
Association, the South Rim has been a huge success with the public
and the park personnel.
This year, 2008, the North Rim component was
in danger of fading away. It is my pleasure to announce that it
has been resurrected and is under new management. We'll be working
hard to bring you an event you'll be glad to attend year after
My wife Rosie and I will be your hosts for
a delightful time under the stars. Details are being worked out,
but up to date info is available at the link above, by emailing
me at the address below, or through the SAC
Attending this particular public star party has many rewards.
First, it is held at arguably one of the most beautiful spots
on the face of this Earth. Second, the variation in people from
all over the world and their cultures is wonderful to experience.
Third, showing someone the night sky for the first time is tremendously
rewarding for you and enriching for them. I guarantee, if they
don't remember your name, they will remember the view! Fourth
if it's true what I tell people, that amateur astronomers are
"paid" by the "wow", I get very rich every
year. Fifth, if you enjoy making someone smile, this is your party.
Even in the dark, you can see them.
One of the major attractions for us to attend was the chance
to camp for the entire week at Grand Canyon for the cost of setting
up a telescope and showing the public what a dark sky can contain.
We hope to incubate this reward in others. Come to the canyon,
set up a telescope at night, each night for the week and you can
reserve one of our camp sites. It's that simple.
Who to contact?
Grand Canyon's North Rim Lodging
You can contact me directly at my email
address , or for more information, visit the official site
of The Grand Canyon Star Party by clicking the "Official
GCSP Page" link above.
President, Saguaro Astronomy Club
Coordinator, North Rim Grand Canyon Star Party
The following information is from previous years and is provided since
the Saguaro Astronomy Club is hosting a North Rim component of the GCSP.
CHECK BACK OFTEN FOR UPDATES.
The North Rim park has a lodge, motel rooms, cabins, and camping facilites.
Outside the entrance to the North Rim park is the Kaibab Lodge, also.
We have a limited number of reserved
camp sites for volunteers that agree to stay the entire week. Reservations
for these sites will begin on March 1st. Contact Steve for details.
* North Rim Lodge, Motel Rooms, and Cabins:
Xanterra, the company which takes reservations for South Rim lodging,
no longer manages the Grand Canyon North Rim lodging (cabins, hotel
and motel rooms) as in previous years. This has been taken over by Forever
Resorts, which apparently does not accept on-line reservations.
The main web page is now: http://www.grandcanyonlodgenorth.com.
Rates and lodging information: http://foreverlodging.com/lodging.cfm?PropertyKey=181
Reservations: 877-386-4383 (877-Fun-4-Ever)
Their web site says they offer hotel and motel rooms and cabins inside
the North Rim park from $107 to $146 per night.
* North Rim Camping - National Park Service:
We have been allotted 5 spots to reserve for the week. If you'd like
to reserve one, you must be willing to stay for the duration. Contact
me, Steve Dodder, directly at one of the email addresses above.
These sites are managed by the National Park Service. From their web
Sites are shaded by large ponderosa pine and quaking aspen trees. Campground
is at 8,200 feet elevation. Ranger programs and visitor center nearby.
Bathrooms and water located throughout campground. Laundry and showers
near the campground for a fee. Wood and charcoal fires only in grills
provided at each site, dependent on fire restrictions. Sites are restricted
to 6 people, 2 vehicles, and 3 tents (or an RV). NO HOOKUPS AVAILABLE.
A vehicle which is towing a trailer, pop-up, tent trailer, a fifth wheel,
or a motorhome pulling a vehicle is considered 2 vehicles at your site.
Check in at the Campground Kiosk upon arrival. If arriving late, reserved
sites will be posted after closing. Check in 11am, check out 10am MST.
Off road camping or parking not allowed. Sites 11, 14, 15, 16 and 18
provide a great view of the canyon and are $25 premium sites. Note that
the North Rim is ONLY accessible by vehicle from May 15 to October 15.
Use the online National Park Service Reservation Center
U.S. callers: 800-365-2267
U.S. and international callers: 301-722-1257)
* Kaibab Lodge:
This is a private lodge outside the gate to the North Rim.