Flagstaff hosts the annual Flagstaff Star Party – Meet the Stars! to bring dark sky experiences to Flagstaff residents and visitors from across the Southwest and around the world. The Flagstaff Star Party’s goal is to share Flagstaff’s world–renowned dark starry skies with those who may not have the opportunity to view starry night skies because of urban sky glow, yet who have a curiosity and desire to see the beauty of a starry sky for themselves, and wish to experience with their families the wonder such views can inspire.
Appreciation of the night time sky is ingrained into our very being. Humans have been inspired by the night sky for over ten thousand years. Early humans looked at the stars and created an oral culture surrounding the constellations that has been woven into our very nature over time. We have long been inspired by the nighttime sky and that inspiration appears in mathematics, science, art, poetry, music, and religion.
If we take away the dark of night our children will lose the infinite star-filled vista that fills us with a sense of mystery and wonder and much of the culture of our distant ancestors will cease to have meaning.
A dark, star-filled night sky is often thought of as important for astronomy or research. Though this is true, the grandeur of the night sky is much deeper and broader, and accessible to anyone. Although astronomers and astronomy are important, protecting the night sky just for astronomers would be like protecting the Grand Canyon just for geologists. Yet no one ever seems to think so narrowly about the Canyon. It is our hope that after looking through a telescope at The Flagstaff Star Party that you may think about the night sky like the Grand Canyon – it’s worth preserving and protecting for all of us.
The Star Party features naked-eye and hosted telescopic observing, with popular-level astronomy talks and guided tours of Flagstaff’s wonderful sunsets and night skies, all held at Buffalo Park (map). Up to 30 telescopes hosted by amateur and professional astronomers from the Flagstaff area will be available for visitors to view the many wonders of the night sky – to capture genuine ancient starlight with their own eyes!
Flagstaff – First International Dark-Sky City
On October 24th, 2001, the City of Flagstaff, Arizona became the World’s First “International Dark- Sky City” [http://www.flagstaffdarkskies.org/international-dark-sky-city/]. The International Dark-Sky City designation is given to identify towns and cities “with exceptional commitment to and success in implementing the ideals of dark sky preservation and/or restoration.” Noplace does this better than Flagstaff – stop by the Information booth just past the park entrance to learn how Flagstaff has done it – and how you can do it in your community or at your home!