USA 2017

How to combine a Star Party in Utah with the Total Solar Eclipse

This stunning National Monument has just been designated as Utah’s newest International Dark Sky Park

How about combining the Total Solar Eclipse this August 21 with a Star Party in the world’s newest International Dark Sky Park.

Although Cedar Breaks National Monument in Utah will see only a 78% partial eclipse on August 21, its annual Star Party on Saturday 19 August makes it a great candidate for a stop just before venturing north to the Path of Totality.

Scheduled for 8:00 PM to 10:30 PM at the stunning Point Supreme overlook, visitors can can observe through several different telescopes complete with a laser-guided tour of the night sky by Park Rangers and volunteer astronomers. At 10,350ft it’s actually the highest regularly scheduled astronomy program in the entire National Park system.

It makes sense to stay at Brian Head ski resort or the lovely Cedar City nearby (and maybe swing by the awesome petroglyph-covered Parowan Gap while you’re in the area, which Native Americans used as a Sun calendar).

Part of the beauty of the timing of a Total Solar Eclipse is that it can only ever occur at New Moon, which means the preceding 10 days or so have dark, Moon-less skies. Perfect, than, for a stargazing-themed road-trip culminating in a Total Eclipse of the Sun!

Straight after, get in the car and drive north on Interstate 15 for 450 miles/about six hours to Idaho Falls, which lies within the Path of Totality.

Utah is a stargazer’s dream location, and the first place in the world to receive accreditation from the International Dark-Sky Association for Natural Bridges National Monument. It’s now home to nine International Dark-Sky Parks, including Arches, Canyonlands and Capitol Reef National Parks, Antelope Island, Goblin Valley, Dead Horse Point State Parks, Natural Bridges National Monuments, and Weber County North Fork Park.

Photo credit: Mike Saemisch