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Utah Travel Headlines Blog

Monday, May 07, 2007

Bryce Canyon May Get Public Astronomical Observatory

The night sky is bright over southern Utah. Bryce Canyon, in particular, is regarded as one of the best places in America to gaze at the stars. Organized star parties are held there on a regular basis.

Stargazing there could soon take a giant step forward with the construction of a public observatory with powerful telescopes.

This Deseret Morning News article has details. Here are excerpts:

The observatory would have a roll-off roof housing two or three telescopes, an imaging room that would be combined with a classroom, a deck for observing the sun with a telescope equipped with special filters, an "architectural sundial" and an amphitheater where as many as 500 people could experience lectures.

"Parks protect scenery, and that's one of the things that's in our mandate," he (Chad Moore, program manager for the Park Service's Night Sky Team) said. Parks have set up overlooks to display terrestrial scenery like the haunting spires of hoodoo formations at Bryce; in the same spirit, he believes, the stunning night scenery at Bryce also should get attention.

Bryce is a good place for astronomy because its high altitude and its distance from the light pollution of large cities mean the sky is darker than most sites.

Read the entire article.

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