Star parties

  Exploding stars, colliding galaxies and random nebulae are the new attractions at Utah's Bryce Canyon National Park. There's even the possibility of seeing the Mir Space Station, the Hubble Space Telescope or the occasional spy satellite. "So we can look up at what's looking down on us," says Patrick Wiggins, the demonstration specialist at the Hansen Planetarium in Salt Lake City. The planetarium hosts monthly star parties and hour-long indoor slide presentations at Bryce Canyon from May through October. As for the growing problem of light pollution in Western parks (HCN, 4/26/99), Wiggins says that is not yet an issue at Bryce. There are no nearby cities and night watches are picked for nights when the moon doesn't shine. "In fact," he says, "the park even turns off the visitor center lights so people can experience seeing by starlight."

Contact Patrick Wiggins at the Hansen Planetarium, 15 State St., Salt Lake City, UT 84111-1590 (801/531-4952) or check the Web site at:

* Tim Westby

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