Events & Festivals

Astronomy Festival

Previously Held September 21, 2018 - September 23, 2018

Chaco Culture National Historical Park

Chaco Culture National Historical Park will be hosting its third Astronomy Festival, September 21-23, 2018. Visit Chaco and carry on the ancient traditions of watching the skies and observe the Autumnal Equinox! September 22 is Public Lands Day, park entrance is free.

Event Information

Chaco Culture National Historical Park
Road 7950 Nagezzi, NM
Chaco Culture N.H.P
Visit Website
Free with park admission
(505) 786-7014 ext. 261

The Chaco Culture N.H.P Astronomy Festival will kick off September 21, 2018 - the day before the Autumnal Equinox.  Throughout the festival, visitors will have the opportunity to take home a commemorative pin for the event and to eat a planet cookie! Join park rangers and guests in Chaco, and revel in the dark skies above Chaco.

Friday, September 21
Ongoing talks about the potential solar eclipse petroglyph site in the afternoon, guest speaker Dan Kinglesmith (retired NASA astronomer) will talk about asteroid light curve determinations at 4pm and guest speaker John Briggs will give a talk titled “The Sky Tonight: A Geography of the Heavens” at 7pm. Telescope viewing will follow.

Saturday, September 22 - Fall Equinox
The day will kick off with a sunrise program to view the Fall Equinox alignment at Casa Rinconada. Gates will open at 6:15am and the first 100 visitors will be allowed to view this. Coffee and refreshments will be available afterwards at the Visitor Center. At 3pm, Dr. Erica Ellingson will present a planetarium show about Chaco Canyon in the Auditorium and at 7pm, keynote speaker Marlon Magdalena will give a talk titled “Looking to the Skies: Ancient Astronomers of the Four Corners.” Magdalena is a Jemez Pueblo tribal member and will give his perspective on certain astronomical objects. Saturday, September 22 is also National Public Lands Day and all entrance fees will be waived.

Sunday, September 23
There will be a guided hike out to the potential supernova pictograph site starting at 7:30am. At 2pm, Dr. Andy Munro will give a talk exploring how the great houses of Chaco Canyon demonstrate that the people who built in the canyon were keenly interested in their place in the cosmos.