Star-Filled Night Skies Leave Visitors Breathless in Mesa, Arizona
If you thought catching an Arizona sunset was on the must-do list, try seeing our stars! Recognized by the Associated Press, Mesa's night sky programming is one of the most popular outings for visitors.
When looking upward in Mesa, Arizona you are bound to see a night sky unlike any other. The state is home to two renowned observatories, is the site where former planet Pluto was discovered, and Arizona's desert skies continue to be recognized as one of the finest locations in the world for astronomical observations. The setting sun offers visitors a whole new spectacular view to take in when visiting the Mesa area, which is known for low-light pollution in the East Valley and cloudless skies. Travelers can enjoy many star-studded events throughout the city including monthly, free public star parties and full-moon hikes, as well as head to the rooftop deck of the Mesa Planetarium to watch a solar eclipse and other lunar activities throughout the year.
A Tour of Mesa's Night Sky at Usery Mountain Regional Park
Grab your flashlight and head out to Usery Mountain Regional Park, located at the western end of the Goldfield Mountains, to experience the sights of the desert at night while learning about our solar system. As part of their “Stargazing for Everyone” series, experts will tell stories and teach park visitors about the moon, stars, planets and galaxies while viewing the sky through a telescope. Visitors are encouraged to bring chairs and snacks for their own comfort throughout the 2 hour program. Dates vary each season.
Full-Moon Hikes in the Legendary Superstition Mountains
Just a short drive from Mesa, visitors can experience the natural beauty of Lost Dutchman State Park. The park is offering ranger-guided full moon hikes and astronomy events where visitors can experience the desert under the light of the moon. During the week of the full moon, a ranger will lead a hike throughout the park taking visitors throughout the trails under the bright full moon light. Astronomers host monthly events to teach visitors about the night sky and point out the ever-changing constellation movements. Lost Dutchman State Park, located along the Apache Trail at the base of the Superstition Mountains, embraces 292 acres and elevations of over 2,000 feet giving stargazers amazing views.
Smooth Sailing & Twinkling Lakeside Lights at Night
Set sail on the Dolly Steamboat at Canyon Lake and watch Arizona's night stars twinkle on the water. Take in either a Twilight Dinner Cruise or the popular Twilight Astronomy Cruises hosted monthly by astronomy expert Dr. Sky. Aboard the Astronomy Cruise, passengers will have the use of on-board telescopes to view the breathtaking beauty of the solar system. Bask in the beauty of Canyon Lake at twilight as the Arizona sun sets the canyon walls aglow. These romantic cruises offer an exciting alternative to dining in Phoenix and the surrounding areas. Each cruise runs for 2 ½ hours and offers an alternating buffet style menu. Guests can also bring their own libations on board.
Public Star Parties at the Planetarium & Observatory
The Mesa Planetarium hosts Astronomy Nights on the first Friday of each month. Visitors can view the night sky and explore the universe and solar system for free in the new planetarium and rooftop observation deck. Planetarium shows 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. At the Gilbert Observatory, the East Valley Astronomy Club hosts monthly public star parties offering guests one of the most fun ways to peer into the Arizona night skies. This gathering features up close viewings of planets and their many moons, as well as a guided instruction to the constellations and other notable stars such as Andromeda and a closer look into the Milky Way.
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