On Labor Day weekend, Cedar Breaks National Monument hosted their final Star Party of the season. The Star Party series started on Memorial Day and wrapped up on Labor Day. Although Sept. 2 was the last regularly scheduled party through the National Parks Service, there will be one more on Sept. 23 hosted through the Southwest Astronomy Fest.
According to Zach Schierl, a Cedar City resident and Park Ranger, party attendants can see star clusters, planets and galaxies on a typical night. However, Sept. 2 was not a typical night; the nearly full moon made most of the typical galaxies and clusters unviewable. Fortunately stars aren’t the only celestial objects that can be seen at star parties. Several planets and the moon were still viewable. The National Parks Service and several locals provided telescopes which allowed people to see the moon and planets up close.
The party on Labor Day weekend hosted nearly 200 people. According to Ranger Schierl, 3 to 300 people typically come to the parties.
Cedar Breaks National Monument is an International Dark Sky Park by the International Dark-Sky Association. It was the 16th of 417 National Parks to be designated as such, and was the first in Southwestern Utah according to the National Parks Service.
Cedar Breaks National Monument is an excellent place for viewing stars not only because of its lack of light pollution, but also for its height which provides clearer air than that of lower elevations.
Anyone who hasn’t experienced a Cedar Breaks Star Party for themselves should make the drive to the national monument and take the advantage of the final star party of the season on Saturday Sept. 23 at 8:30 pm.