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Utah Travel Headlines

Monday, February 06, 2012

Kanarraville Will Be A Star During May Lunar Eclipse

There will be a nearly total lunar eclipse on May 20, and the tiny community of Kanarraville is being touted as one of the best spots in the US to view the phenomenon. Kanarraville is located just south of Cedar City in southern Utah.

Southern Utah is famous for its "dark skies." Bryce Canyon, Cedar Breaks and Natural Bridges have low light pollution and so the stars are exceptionally bright. Those popular sites often host star parties and other astronomical activities. The clear skies are expected to add to the attraction drawing eclipse watches.

The Standard-Examiner newspaper has this article about Kanaraville and the lunar event. Below are excerpts.

"I heard of the concept two years ago," said Bonnie Oldroyd, a public relations specialist for the Cedar City-Brian Head Tourism Bureau. "I thought, 'What the heck is astro-tourism?' I did some research and found out we have astro-tourism."

Defined simply as traveling to study astronomy and observe the sky, astro-tourism has been a staple of Iron County for years, Oldroyd said, citing the annual Bryce Canyon National Park Astronomy Festival, stargazing parties at Cedar Breaks National Monument and the solstice events at Parowan Gap as examples.

Kanarraville, with a population of approximately 300 people, will rely on Iron County public safety workers to help deal with the traffic and safety for the estimated 5,000 tourists expected to descend on the town, Oldroyd said.

"The sweet-spot viewing area will be south of town in Iron County, so we are working to get parking and transportation to the area," Ence said. "We are also asking private land owners to help by offering parking or viewing areas on their land."

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