Third Annual Astronomy Festival At Great Basin National Park This Week

The eclipse is past us, as is the transit of Venus, but that doesn't mean astronomy shows in the national parks are over. This week the 3rd Annual Great Basin Astronomy Festival will be celebrated at Great Basin National Park.

The national park's dark night skies will be the backdrop for the festival, which runs Thursday through Saturday. Coinciding with a new moon phase, under night skies noted to be the darkest in the continental United States, the free festival provides incredible opportunities for exploration.

Sponsored by the Las Vegas Astronomical Society, the Salt Lake Astronomical Society, and the National Parks Conservation Association, the three-day festival offers around-the-clock activities including optimum Milky Way viewing opportunities, discussions with visiting astronomers, opportunities to view the wonders of the night sky through the lens of professional, large scale telescopes, and more. Junior astronomers will have opportunities to receive Deep Space viewing certificates at the event.

Daytime festival activities include tours through a part of the national park’s impressive cave system to experience total darkness, solar scope viewings, presentations on astronomy basics, kids programs, lectures on more complex sciences, and a program where children earn Deep Space Certificates. Additional highlights for this year’s festival include:

· Friday, June 15, 8 p.m.: Presentation by Paul Bogard, author of the forthcoming book, The Geography of Night: Discovering Darkness in an Age of Light and editor of Let There Be Night: Testimony on Behalf of the Dark.

· Saturday, June 16, 7:30 p.m.: Saturday evening screening of The City Dark, a new documentary movie about the importance of darkness, which has recently captured top honors at film festivals around the world.