Bryce Hoping to Give Visitors View of the Cosmos

Brcaastronomy The night skies over southern Utah are some of the darkest in the country. That was noted earlier this year when Natural Bridges National Monument was recognized as the world's first International-Dark Sky Park.
Now comes word that the folks at Bryce Canyon, which happens to be the home base of the National Park Service's Night Sky Team, are working to obtain $2 million for an observatory that would house several telescopes the public could use to gaze into the cosmos.
You'd be able to peruse the planets, glimpse the galaxies and note the nebulae many millions of light years from earth. In the daytime, visitors would be able to observe the sun's surface through special filters and hear lectures in a 500-seat amphitheater, writes the Provo (Utah) Daily Herald in an editorial. The plan also allows improved spaces for amateur astronomers to set up their own instruments for star parties.
If you'd like to see how dark the skies are over Bryce Canyon -- they say you can see 7,500 stars on a clear, moonless night -- next month the park will host its 7th Annual Astronomy Festival. For a schedule of the festival, and to find out when other star-gazing parties will be held at Bryce, check out this page.

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Backpacker magazine just did a article on the NPS's Nigh Sky Team. Check it out in the June 07 issue of the magazine.