Upcoming Stargazing Events In The National Park System

On clear nights, you can see the Milky Way with the unaided eye in Death Valley/NPS, Dan Duriscoe

Summer months usually bring about the most stargazing events in the National Park System, but winter is pretty good, too, in part because of the clearer atmospheric conditions. Upcoming events take place at Voyageurs National Park in Minnesota, and Death Valley National Park in California and Nevada.

Boreal Stargazing Week

At Voyageurs National Park, rangers will be offering two events that will include some stargazing during the upcoming Boreal Stargazing Week.

Nighttime Snowshoe Hike 

Saturday, February 10, 6 p.m.-7:30 p.m. 
Black Bay Beaver Pond, near Rainy Lake Visitor Center 
Join a park ranger and Voyageurs Conservancy for a guided snowshoe hike and telescope observation session at Black Bay Beaver Pond (to access the Black Bay Beaver Pond, drive ~.25 mile on the ice road from Rainy Lake Visitor Center). Snowshoe rentals are free and available upon arrival at Black Bay Beaver Pond trailhead. Bring warm layers and a headlamp!  
No reservation necessary. 

Ski Event and Telescope Program  

Saturday, February 17, 6 p.m.-7:30 p.m. 
Tilson Bay Bogwalk, International Falls, MN 
Join the Polar Polers, Voyageurs National Park, and Voyageurs Conservancy for cross country skiing and a telescope observation session at Tilson Bay. Meet at the Tilson Bay Bogwalk parking lot. Bring warm layers and a headlamp!  Note: Please bring your own skis before the program begins (they are not available at Tilson Bay Bogwalk). Limited rental skis are available for free at the Rainy Lake Visitor Center if picked up before 4 p.m. and then brought to the ski event just a short drive away. 
No reservation necessary. 

The Boreal Stargazing Week is hosted across Minnesota parks, wilderness areas, environmental learning centers, and during virtual programs. Boreal Stargazing events are free and feature captivating night sky tours, snowshoe hikes, live conversations with astronomers, and more.

Death Valley Dark Sky Festival

It shouldn’t be too surprising that Death Valley National Park is home to a dark sky festival. Afterall, scenes of movies set on other worlds (think Star Wars) were filmed in the park, and some areas of Death Valley are somewhat similar to those in other worlds, namely Mars, and as a result scientists have been doing research in the park with hopes of gaining a better understanding of Mars.

The next edition of the festival is scheduled for March 1-3, and during it not only will you be able to look into the star-studded heavens, but you’ll be able to attend lectures with scientists in the field to understand why they conduct research in Death Valley, and pick up some tips to improve your night-sky photos.

This event is a collaboration between Death Valley National Park, the Death Valley Natural History Association, NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Ames Research Center, SETI Institute and the California Institute of Technology.

For the full list of events, click here.

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