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Astrotourism: Summer Sun Goes Into Its Winter Home at Parowan Gap in Southern Utah


(EMAILWIRE.COM, October 30, 2012 ) PAROWAN, Utah While standing inside the Gap looking east, there is a rock outcropping on the south side which looks like a facial profile featuring a slight open mouth. This profile is respectfully known as the Overseer or Protector of American Indians.

Shortly after sunrise, as the sun crosses the morning sky, it appears in the mouth of the Overseer. The sun sits in the mouth, and sits, and sits, and then gulp as the Overseer swallows the sun, thus signifying that the Summer Sun has gone into its Winter Home, telling the people if they have not prepared for winter, they had better be moving south quickly, as Winter will soon be here, said Nancy Dalton, interpretive volunteer and member of the Parowan Heritage Foundation which co-sponsors a series of archeo-astronomy events at the Parowan Gap.

This one of a kind event occurs annually November 6-8, said Dalton, adding that before or after those dates, the sun just passes through his mouth. Because, we will be observing this event a few days early, we will be adjusting our location from the official observation spot to witness this awesome spine-tingling event, she explained.

The informal interpretive program will start at 8:00 a.m., with the sun entering the mouth beginning about 8:23 a.m. and the process completed by 9:00 a.m.

Those attending the observation event are strongly encouraged to dress extra warm, as the wind and winter temperatures make it icy cold in the Gap, said Dalton. Because of the primitive setting of the Gap, people are also reminded to use restroom facilities before coming out to the Gap.

This is a new annual event added to the Parowan Gap Observation Series co-sponsored by Parowan Heritage Foundation, Paiute Indian Tribe of Utah and Cedar City-Brian Head Tourism Bureau. For additional information or directions, contact Dalton at 435.463.3735 or check out Parowan Gap on


Cedar City-Brian Head Tourism Bureau

Hailey McDonald


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