When I was planning this trip to the Grand Canyon I did not know that my dates would coincide with a free star gazing party hosted by the Tucson Amateur Astronomy Association. I’m so glad I opted for an overnight stay and so fortunate that I got to participate in this event.
I love looking up at the stars above but have little knowledge of astronomy. Last year I finally identified the Cassiopeia constellation in my mission to catch the Perseid Meteor Showers. And last month I caught a few shooting stars in Jamaica.
Today, the night sky above the Grand Canyon was clear and spotted with stars. The TAAA volunteers were great and extremely knowledgeable, at least to me, a novice. Even my mother was star-struck, though she did manage to comment “as for this one my grandmother could look into the sky and see these three stars (which three stars I interjected and she pointed randomly!) and know that the rains were coming.” Oh, ok then.
Our first viewing was of Saturn through a telescope. AMAZING! I can’t believe you can actually see the rings. Understandably, the telescopes are large and powerful and the laser pointers? So powerful that they directly pointed to the star in question.
We saw the Milky Way rise above the horizon overhead. The teacup in the constellation Sagittarius. The bright red star Antares at the heart of the constellation Scorpius that was quite easy to see.
The Northern Cross in the constellation Cygnus. The Summer Triangle. My friend Cassiopeia. Various galaxies, nebulae, and dead stars.
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