The Southwest Astronomy Festival

You may have heard of the 1st Annual Southwest Astronomy Festival taking place all over Southern Utah and Northern Arizona. This weekend, there will be (at least) 26 astronomy-related events going on over a two day period.


With one exception (an art exhibit in St. George) every single event is free and open to the public. The Cedar Breaks National Monument has made this event possible, with the Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument organizing and overseeing the events in the Washington County area.

We want to thank the National Park Service, particularly the Cedar Breaks National Monument team for making this event happen, and inviting us to work with them.

SUSF is a major partner in the Iron County area. If you happen to be in the Washington County area, the big partner is the Saint George Astronomy Group and we’ve seen firsthand the metric ton of work they’ve put in to make this happen.

There are over 20 organizations participating in the festival, and all of them deserve recognition. Having worked in mostly the Iron County area, we can say that the Cedar Breaks National Monument team has worked tirelessly to make this event a reality, the Ashcroft Observatory team is going to be working both Friday and Saturday, and North Elementary has brought these events to students. The Cedar City Library has also been a foundational partner, and we owe particular thanks to Lauren McAfee for making the events at the library a reality.

What is SUSF doing for the Southwest Astronomy Festival?

We will link to an official schedule of events, but we want to let you know the events SUSF will be at:

Friday, September 22, 2017:

Astronomy Extravaganza at North Elementary, 6-8 pm, Friday night
A family-friendly event with lots of hands-on activities at North Elementary’s STEM Center. The Southern Utah Space Foundation will have a booth there on pre-telescopic astronomical instruments. (It sounds dry but it’s going to be really cool).

Star Party at North Elementary, 8:30-10:30 pm, Friday night
Right after the Astronomy Extravaganza, we will have a star party and constellation tour just outside the school. Come see the stars, planets, and amazing deep sky objects through telescopes!

Saturday, September 23, 2017:

Astronomy Presentations at Cedar City Library, 10 am-4pm, Saturday
Everyone is invited to come to these presentations. Here is a list of all presenters and their presentations/workshops. The ones SUSF is personally involved in are in bold. Schedule:
10 am: The Effects of Space Travel on the Human Body with Dr. Ali Siahpush.
11 am: Laws of the Last Frontier: Space Law and
Policies, a series of mini-debates with Dr. Angela Pool-Funai.
1 pm: Asteroids, Dinosaurs, and You! With Zachary Schierl.
2 pm: How to Start a Little Free Library on SPAAAAAAAACE with Leesa Ricci.
3 pm: History of Astronomy in 60 Minutes with Kaleb Smith.
4 pm: Preserving the Night Sky with Dr. Jackie Grant.

Might As Well Be Walking on the Sun, just outside the Cedar City Library, 1 pm-4pm, Saturday
SUSF will be teaming up with the Cedar Breaks National Monument to bring you an up close and personal view of our own star: The Sun. Not everyone in Iron County will be able to see presenters inside (because of limited seating), but if you come to the library between the hours of 1-4 pm and can’t get a seat, you can look through a solar telescope outside, where seating is much less limited, and not cry! Or, if you want to skip the presentations and just take a gander at the sun for fun, that’s cool too.

Astrogeek Networking at Artisans Art Gallery, 6-8pm, Saturday night
The Artisans Art Gallery owners have graciously allowed SUSF to use their space for an Astrogeek networking event. If you are interested in art, astronomy, astrophotography, or just eating hors’ doeuvres, join us Saturday night.

Star Party at the Cedar Canyon Nature Park, 9-11 pm, Saturday night
After our astrogeek networking is over, SUSF will be taking their big telescope up the canyon to the Cedar Canyon Nature Park. The Southwest Wildlife Foundation has made this event possible, and we hope to see everyone up there for some telescope viewing and constellation tours!

These are the events SUSF will be participating in. Come see us this weekend!

You can download the official schedule of events here.

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