“When the sun goes down and Sedona’s red rocks are blanketed by darkness, it’s possible to watch a heavenly light show and see the entire galaxy on the right night,” says Jennifer Wesselhoff, president/CEO of the Sedona Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Bureau. “Sedona’s skies are free of most of the light pollution that blocks stargazing in large cities, plus our 4,500-foot elevation decreases the air space between viewers and space.”
During the night sky experiences, which are led by professional astronomers, participants get an overview of planets, galaxies, star clusters, and nebula, and can see them through large powerful telescopes. Programs also can be tailored to specific themes or interests.
“Participants meet the expert at the agreed-upon location, and the tour begins with an overview of the constellations using a high-power laser pointer,” says Wesselhoff. “Our local astronomers are exceptionally knowledgeable and provide an educational and entertaining experience.”
Some of the places to take in the dark skies are Fay Canyon Trail, Marg’s Draw Trailhead, and Thunder Mountain Trailhead. Fay Canyon is known as a good spot to see shooting stars and Marg’s Draw, which includes iconic Snoopy Rock, provides a scenic wilderness backdrop.
“You’ll come for a captivating sunset at Thunder Mountain, but you’ll stay for the unforgettable 360˚ view of the Sedona starscape,” adds Wesselhoff.
And, the good news is that the conditions are always right—no matter the month—for taking in the splendor of the night sky.
“Sedona’s haze-free, cloud-free skies make stargazing possible most nights of the year, and the transparency of the desert air, because it is free of humidity, increases visibility,” Wesselhoff adds.
Top photo: Sedona night sky
Photo by Sedona Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Bureau