Gail and I were very excited as we walked in 40-degree weather to attend our first stargazing event. Even though 40 degrees does not sound cold to most, we thought it felt very cold. We put on our Chicago winter jackets to make sure we would be warm and headed to the park. FYI…my wife is from Chicago but has been in the sunny, hot AZ weather for almost 20 years and has lost her superpower ability to not feel cold.
Our neighbor told us about this event in the park and said there would be telescopes we could look through. I have never owned a telescope and really wanted to get a close-up look at the moon.
As we began our journey through the frozen tundra (yes, a little dramatic license here), my excitement was building. I tried to stay calm and keep my expectations low. I wasn’t sure what kind or how many telescopes were going to be there or how crowded it would be, but I had a good feeling about it.
As we approached the park, we noticed that there weren’t that many people there. However, I did notice there were three very large telescopes. I immediately approached one and the owner of the telescope started talking to us about the telescope. He was waiting for the clouds to move to get a close-up on the moon!
As we were talking he mentioned that he was from a group called the Grand Canyon Star Party. They are amateur astronomers and are extremely knowledgeable. I wish I could remember all the interesting things they told us. He also mentioned an event they host in June at the Grand Canyon filled with stargazing, lecture and dark skies, which now sounds very interesting.
Then as I was about to look at another telescope, the clouds parted and gave a perfect view of the moon! The gentleman asked for my cell phone and took a picture through the telescope lens. He also said we were in luck as he was going to get a picture of the Straight Wall on the moon, which he stated is linear fault. Now I was even more excited about stargazing.
To top off the evening we went to the largest telescope and were shown stars that were hundreds and thousands of light years away. I couldn’t believe it.
As we walked back to our house, I was still in awe thinking about all the cool stuff we saw that night. And we also met some very nice people. I was glad we didn’t let the weather and clouds keep us from going to the stargazing event.
As I was looking through the telescopes and listening to the Grand Canyon Star Party members, it made me realize how immense the universe really is and how we are just one little part of it.
We are now planning to get out of the AZ heat in June for even more stargazing and meeting new people. What we saw at the park was just a small sample. We can’t wait for June to roll around and get out of the scorching heat to see the dazzling star spectacle at the Grand Canyon.
If you are interested and want to go to the event, let us know! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or comment below!