Celebrate Summer Solstice At Parowan Gap Or The Sun Tunnels
|Parowan Gap rock art - by Dave Webb|
The annual Summer Solstice will take place on Saturday, June 21. Two spots in Utah are of special interest on that date, and both will attract visitors.
Parowan Gap is a Native American rock art site northwest of Cedar City, in southern Utah. Rock faces on the east side of the gap are covered by interesting figures carved by ancient people. During the past several years, enthusiasts have discovered and documented how some of the figures can be used as a calendar system.
In addition, it is said that the gap itself is in perfect alignment with rays from the sun at dawn and dusk on the day of the Summer Solstice. The spot has become quite a famous astronomical attraction.
This year an educational event will be held at the gap on Saturday beginning at 7 p.m. This Deseret News article gives details. Below are excerpts:
The program will start at 7:30 p.m. with the BLM presentation, followed by solar engineer Nal Morris discussing how the Zipper Glyph and other petroglyphs can be used as a calendar system.
At 8:30 p.m., the group will walk about one mile to the back summer solstice cairn to watch the sun set down the middle of the Gap onto the mountain horizon as depicted on the Zipper Glyph.
The sun tunnels are a modern art creation in the middle of nowhere, in the Great Salt Lake Desert west of Salt Lake City and northeast of Wendover. They were created by Nancy Holt, a famous sculpture and land artist.
He tunnels are large concrete tubes that are aligned with the summer and winter solstice events, and with the equinox events.
The are accessible via good gravel roads. Since they are in the middle of nowhere, study the map so you know where you are going and take provisions plus emergency gear.