Parks and astronomy groups offer a host of stargazing opportunities for Arizona residents.

Eye on the Sky

Written by Arren Kimbel-Sannit Category: Lifestyle Issue: August 2016
Group Free

The night sky is a true asset, but in Phoenix, as with other big cities, the cosmos has become decreasingly visible as development brings bright lights to the skyline. But even though city lights are increasingly obscuring our views of the stars, there’s still a lot of stuff to see in the sky this month, if you know where to look – and with whom.  

Homolovi State Park Star Party

Arizona State Parks hosts its monthly star party at Homolovi State Park just outside of Winslow. Astronomers of all stripes can join the party and view a nearly-full moon and nearby planets, says park manager Chad Meunier. Those interested can bring their own telescopes (and get help setting them up and using them), or use a telescope set up for the event. Meunier says there will likely be a telescope capable of taking photos, but it also works to point a lens through the scope. All ages and experience levels are welcome – the parties often get more beginners than anyone else. $7 per person. 7 p.m., August 13 at Homolovi State Park near Winslow, azstateparks.com/Parks/HORU/

East Valley Astronomy 

Club Star Party

It might be possible to spot a few meteors at the East Valley Astronomy Club’s public star party this month, says EVAC president Donald Wrigley, adding the caveat that their event will be earlier and closer to the city than the Perseids meteor shower that night. Club members will have telescopes set up, but folks can also focus on the stars through the modified 16-inch Meade Ritchey-Chrétien scope inside the Gilbert Rotary Centennial Observatory. Free. 7:30 p.m., August 12, at the Riparian Preserve at Water Ranch, 2757 E. Guadalupe Rd., Gilbert, evaconline.org

Phoenix Astronomical 

Society Star Party

The Phoenix Astronomical Society has monthly star parties, and this month’s takes place on the sidewalk in front of the Bookmans in Phoenix. Viewers should be able to see the moon, Mars and Saturn, and can bring their own telescopes for pointers and assistance. The events usually draw hundreds of people and sometimes there are more than 10 telescopes set up, Phoenix Astronomical Society president Sam Insana says. Aside from moons and planets, the telescopes often catch nebula and even other galaxies. The free event draws people of all experience levels, and even some octogenarian astronomy amateurs. “From when you’re a little kid, you look up at the sky and see a lot of objects, but you don’t know what they are,” Insana says. This event can remedy that galactic enigma. Free. 7 p.m., August 20 and 21 at Bookmans, 8034 N. 19th Ave., Phoenix, pasaz.or