How much do you know about the skies above us? Well here’s a fun way to learn. All would-be stargazers should mark their calendars for the return of the summer and fall Gateway to the Stars series at Gateway Arch National Park. Visitors of all ages can join in the fun.
Each month from now through October, the National Park Service and the St. Louis Astronomical Society will offer public astronomy programs and telescope viewing at the Gateway Arch. Each evening event will begin with a ranger talk and discussion inside the park’s Visitor Center at 6:45 p.m. followed by telescope viewings of the night sky just outside the Arch entrance beginning at 8:00 p.m., weather permitting. Volunteers from the Astronomical Society will have multiple telescopes available for participants to use and will help interpret what people can see through the eyepiece.
The theme of each evening will differ. No reservation is required except for the children’s program on July 10, which requires advance registration:
- Sunday, June 12: Stories in the Stars The discussion will focus on the sky as a cultural resource and will include constellation stories from many cultures. Visitors will also be invited to share their sky stories.
- Sunday, July 10: Kids Explorer Night Children ages 5-12 can earn their Junior Ranger Night Explorer patches as they build and take home their own Galileoscopes. These are small refractor telescopes that allow viewers to see the same objects as famed astronomer Galileo Galilei such as craters of the moon and four moons of Jupiter. Space is limited. Go to Gateway to the Stars: Kids Explorer Night for information on how to sign up.
- Sunday, August 14: The New James Webb Space Telescope Learn about the newest space telescope, its “first light,” and early discoveries it has already made.
- Saturday, September 3: Lights Out Heartland Speakers from Dark Sky Missouri will discuss the impact of light pollution on wildlife and the environment.
- Saturday, October 8: Theme to be determined.