Night Sky: Stars and Galaxies

Chimney Rock National Monument

This program is timed for when the moon is absent from the sky; we can enjoy the night sky in a truly dark-sky environment and see deep-sky objects such as binary stars, globular star clusters, open clusters, various nebulae, and other galaxies. 

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 2021 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 may occasionally prevent telescope viewing on a particular date. 

If telescope viewing is planned, you’ll then drive to the High Mesa parking lot, where volunteers await with telescopes. At the viewing area, each telescope will focus on a different feature, and volunteers will change that focus periodically during the viewing time. Viewing is scheduled to continue until about one hour after maximum darkness. Guests may depart from the viewing area whenever they choose. 

If we are not able to use the telescopes, expert volunteers will give an expanded talk about how the ancient people who periodically inhabited the site used the unique landscape of the Chimney Rock area to view the sky, what 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).

Guests must enter through the Hwy 151 entry gate during the check-in period stated below; the gate will be locked at the end of that time.  

Tickets are $16 for ages 13 and up, $8 for 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

Need to Know

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