Night Sky: Our Solar System

Chimney Rock National Monument Tours

This program is timed for when the moon is visible but not fully illuminated; we can enjoy the night sky unimpeded by artificial lighting or the brightness of a full moon, and see many of the brighter objects that are visible. When viewed through a telescope, the moon’s partial white disc is revealed in amazing detail.

The Hwy 151 Entry Gate will open for check-in during the times stated below. Guests will proceed to the Amphitheatre for the first part of the program, an introductory talk including topics such as how the ancient people who periodically inhabited the site used the unique landscape of the Chimney Rock area to view the sky, and what special astronomical events they might have seen. 

All Night Sky programs are designed to include telescope viewing by attendees, and we hope restrictions will be lifted in 2022 to allow this activity. But, since the virus can be spread by the moisture of the eye contacting a telescope eye-piece, we may need to omit this activity for the safety of all. Also, weather conditions occasionally prevent telescope viewing on a particular date. 

If telescope viewing is possible, you’ll then drive to the High Mesa parking lot. At the viewing area, each telescope will focus on a different feature, and volunteers will change that focus periodically during the viewing time. Guests may depart from the viewing area whenever they choose. 

If telescope viewing is not possible, we will remain at the Amphitheatre for an expanded presentation on topics such as: the ancient people's knowledge and use of astronomy, special astronomical events they might have seen, or other topics relevant to this special place. Bring your questions! 

Remember that at this altitude the nights begin to cool rapidly after sunset, so an appropriate jacket or sweater will enable you to remain comfortable while you enjoy the majesty of the night sky at Chimney Rock. This program is perfect for young families and those with limited mobility. Visitors traveling with their own telescope are encouraged to bring it to the program and share it with others (if restrictions allow).

Tickets are $16 (ages 13 and up), $8 (ages 5-12), under 5 free, and are considered a non-refundable, non-transferable donation. A booking fee applies to each ticket purchased online or through the call center. 

Making a reservation through the call center or website is the only way to guarantee a spot on this tour. 

Most programs are at full capacity prior to the event, but we will accommodate walk-ins if space is available. Booking fees do not apply to walk-ins. 

 Program Dates/Times:  

Select a date to see a list of times

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