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Chaco park to host equinox sunrise event and astronomy festival

The Great Kiva and Casa Rinconada are prominent features of Chaco Culture National Historical Park in northwest New Mexico. (The Associated Press)
Tradition followed by astronomy discussions, viewings

The public is invited to join the Chaco Culture National Historic Park for the annual equinox sunrise observation, a centuries-old tradition, on Sept. 22.

“If the skies are clear, visitors will see the sun gently rise above the horizon to shine directly through two perfectly aligned windows that flank the entrance to the Great Kiva Casa Rinconada,” a news release from Nathan Hatfield said. “This alignment is another wonderful example of the Ancestral Pueblo practice of using architectural features to track what was happening in the sky above.”

Visitors may go to Casa Rinconada when the gates open at 6 a.m. This program is limited to 100 people.

Chaco’s Astronomy Festival follows the next two days. The fifth annual event will feature indoor planetarium shows and special tours throughout the day. Jon Ghahate, from the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, will discuss Indigenous views on astronomy at 8 p.m. Sept. 23 and 24.

Ghahate’s discussions will be followed by telescope viewing with volunteers from the Albuquerque Astronomical Society. Ghahate also will lead bike tours to the Wijiji Great House at 1 p.m. Sept. 23 and a bike tour to the Casa Chaquita Great House at 1 p.m. Sept. 24.

For more information, visit https://www.nps.gov/chcu.