Special Bryce Canyon Night Sky’s Program Lunar Eclipse on the winter solstice

The National Park Service cares for special places saved by the American people so that all may experience our heritage.
National Park Service
U.S. Department of the Interior
Bryce Canyon
National Park
PO Box 640201
Bryce, Utah 84764
435 834-5322 phone
435 834-4704 fax
Bryce Canyon National Park News Release
December 14, 2010
For Immediate Release
Dan Ng 435-834-4740
Bryce Canyon National Park Presents an
“Eclipse Extravaganza”
Bryce Canyon National Park Superintendent Jeff Bradybaugh invites you to join Bryce Canyon’s “Dark
Rangers” on Tuesday, December 21, 2010, for an evening of programs and activities highlighting two
significant astronomical events—both occurring simultaneously: Winter Solstice, and a total lunar
eclipse! Says Bradybaugh, “Whether or not you’ve been to an astronomy show at Bryce Canyon before,
it’s worth braving the cold for this one, because we won’t have a total lunar eclipse on the winter
solstice for another 391 years!” Though total lunar eclipses can be seen about every 5 years in North
America, the next one to happen on the winter solstice, which is the shortest day of the year and when
Earth is closest to our Sun, won’t be until December 21, 2401!
Dark Ranger Joel Allen adds, “Full moons are so bright that usually they’re the enemy of stargazing.
However, as the moon eclipses, you’ll get the best of both worlds—the romance of a full moon, and the
starry splendor of an ultra-dark sky.”
The evening events begin at 5:30 p.m. with a full moon hike among the
hoodoos led by Dark Ranger Kevin Poe. Attendance is capped at 30
participants, ages 6 and up. The hike is moderately-strenuous and will
last about two hours. Stop by the Bryce Canyon Visitor Center (open
daily, 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.) or call (435-834-4747) to reserve a spot on
this hike. Hiking boots are required for all participants on moonlight
hikes. Because hiking trails have patches of snow and ice, traction
devices are highly recommended. Visitors may purchase traction devices
at the Bryce Canyon Visitor Center for $25, if they so desire. Hiking boot with traction device.
Dark Ranger leading a full moon hike at Bryce Canyon National Park.
The National Park Service cares for special places saved by the American people so that all may experience our heritage.
The second event will be a pre-eclipse moon
viewing through large telescopes on the Bryce
Canyon Visitor Center patio. This will take place
from 10:00 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Be sure to dress
warmly as nighttime temperatures will dip well
below freezing.
Beginning at 10:30 p.m. in the visitor center
auditorium, Dark Rangers Joel Allen and Kevin Poe
will present a one-hour multimedia program called,
“All I Want for Solstice is Our Moon to Come
Back!” In addition to explaining how eclipses work,
this presentation highlights the science and
mythology of how our Moon came to be, life’s
dependence on our Moon, and human exploration of
our lunar neighbor.
The grand finale of the evening will take place from
11:30 p.m. to 12:40 a.m. Visitors will be invited
back to the large telescopes outside to view our
“disappearing” Moon as it is slowly eclipsed by
Earth’s shadow.
Head Dark Ranger Kevin Poe offers this suggestion: “Still looking for the perfect gift for that person
who has everything? Why not bring them to our Eclipse Extravaganza here at Bryce Canyon, the Last
Grand Sanctuary of Natural Darkness!”
As Poe explains, “This will not be the only astronomy presentation Bryce Canyon offers during this
holiday season – but it will be the best one!” The other three astronomy presentations will be Friday,
December 24, Tuesday, December 28, and Friday, December 31. All three will be held at the Bryce
Canyon Visitor Center and all three will start at 7:00pm., followed by stargazing – weather permitting.
All events are free of charge, though the park entrance fee is $25.00 – good for up to a seven-day visit at
Bryce Canyon National Park. National passes like the Interagency Annual Pass, Senior Pass, and Access
Pass waive the entrance fee.
Be sure to dress warmly—with lots of layers—for these events. Free hot apple cider and cocoa will be
provided for attendees of these events.
We hope to see you there!
– N P S –
Multi-exposure sequence of eclipse
stages – photo courtesy of NASA

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Bryce Canyon City, UT 84764

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