Under a blanket of stars

Under a waning moon When planning my trip to Utah, I took Ms. Foott’s advice and planned my trip as close to the new moon as possible, w...


When planning my trip to Utah, I took Ms. Foott’s advice and planned my trip as close to the new moon as possible, when the sky is darkest.

“Moonlight may seem dim, but it can dramatically change the night scene,” Ms. Foott said. “A new moon is the best time to see faint celestial objects that can be blown away by moonlight like the Milky Way and faint stars. This can also be achieved when the moon has set or when the moon is not is only partially illuminated.

On the morning of October 4 – as the moon was waning – I disembarked at Salt Lake City International Airport and drove to the city of Moababout 230 miles southeast and the gateway to Canyonlands and Arches, two of Utah’s “Mighty Five” national parks, which also include Bryce’s Canyon, capitol reef and If we.

In my little Ford Fiesta with all the windows down, I got my first glimpse of Utah’s oft-photographed sandstone formations, spiers, buttes and hoodoos (or earth pyramids) as well as rolling canyons and natural bridges that make the state so geographically alive. . Just days away from caring for an elderly parent, I was time constrained so needed to bypass another nearby center for stargazers, Canyonlands National Park, and just focus on Arches , where I had planned to reunite with an old friend. , Thom Harrop, Utah native and photographer.

After hours of driving and getting a little dirty, I stopped in the old mining town of Moab, which serves as a base camp for tourists, climbers, mountain bikers, hikers and stargazers. A range of restaurants in Moab cater to a variety of tastes while a growing number of hotels cater to those who want to hit the sandstone then sleep in crisp sheets, a demographic I fall squarely into.

While still at home in Tennessee, I heard that a long-used ad hoc stargazing site in Arches called panoramic point had recently been upgraded. Joette Langianese, the executive director of the Friends of Arches and Canyonlands Parks, the non-profit organization which was instrumental in securing dark sky designation for the two parks, has confirmed that it has built an outdoor sky viewing area complete with telescopes and seating for 75 people.

“Lately people are going out there with their own telescopes, and sometimes a ranger just comes over and talks to them,” Ms Langianese said. “Canyonlands and Arches scheduled night sky programs but, due to Covid, they were canceled, so they kind of happened automatically.”

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Newsrust - US Top News: Under a blanket of stars
Under a blanket of stars
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