Look up and get lost in one of Arizona greatest night time attractions, the stars. Arizona’s clear desert skies offer some of the best viewing conditions in the world for astronomical observations. Mesa’s night sky programs in our parks offer year-round opportunities for visitors to gaze at the stars. Here are just a few ways to look up during your visit:
Holding monthly star parties, sharing their telescopes while knowledge amateur astronomers locate constellations, count the moons of Jupiter and rings around Saturn. Star parties begin at dusk. For dates visit, evaconline.org/sp.html
Home to the Mesa Planetarium. Explore the universe and solar system for free in the theater and on the rooftop observation deck as part of the Astronomy Nights program offered on the first Friday of every month. During this free public event, the planetarium runs shows that take place every half hour from 6:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. with telescope viewing from the observation deck beginning at 7:00 p.m.
Take part in their “Stargazing for Everyone” series. Experts will share constellation stories and teach park visitors about the moon, stars, planets and galaxies while viewing the sky through several telescopes and using a sky laser. For dates visit, maricopacountyparks.net
Offering ranger-guided full moon hikes during the cycle of the full moon. No flashlights here as the moonlight is all you need to guide your path. The park is in the foothills of the Superstition Mountains tucked away from surrounding light pollution allowing for incredible, crisp views of the night sky in the middle of the still desert. For dates visit, azstateparks.com
Watch reflections of night stars on a Twilight Dinner Cruise on Dolly Steamboat. For avid star seekers, be sure to experience their monthly Astronomy Cruises during high tourism season, where passengers have use of on-board telescopes to view the breathtaking beauty of the solar system under the instruction of astronomy expert Dr. Sky. Call for current tour schedules, reservations recommended.
Learn about the universe through interactive telescope educational sessions, guided moon light walks on Judith Tunell Trail, or celebrate the night sky at a star party. The SMEEC host these events on select dates though out the month. For dates visit, smeec.org.