Cedar Breaks National Monument is sponsoring the Southwest Astronomy Festival this weekend, Sept. 7-9. The Southwest Astronomy Festival is a series of astronomy events in three days, hosted between southwest Utah and northern Arizona.
The festival begins at noon on Friday with an A.P.E.X. space debates in the Hunter Conference Center Great Hall. Panelists will discuss space junk removal, Mars travel and even extraterrestrial communication. The Southern Utah Museum of Art (SUMA) and Ashcroft Observatory will host a Sun Party on Friday from noon to 4pm. Later in the day, several discussions on astronomy will be hosted across Cedar City.
On Thursday, events will continue, ranging from SUU planetarium shows in the library to night sky photography workshops at Cedar Breaks. Other festival events include night hikes, solar viewing parties and an astronomy art exhibition.
The Astronomy festival will end Sunday at 8-11pm for a Star Party Finale at Cedar Breaks National Monument and Gunlock State Park. The star party will feature several telescopes, including the University of Utah’s 26-inch telescope for attendants to see the night sky in high definition.
Washington County will also host back-to-back events each day of the festival. Cedar Breaks National Monument and the Grand Canyon Parashant National Monument are sponsoring this event with the support of the Southern Utah Space Foundation, St. George Astronomy Group and Ashcroft Observatory.
Most of the festival events are free and appropriate for all ages. Some workshops have limited seating and may require registration. For further information and the complete schedule of events, visit www.nps.gov/southwest-astronomy-festival.htm.