Celebration of Dark Skies in Death Valley: Dark Sky Festival is Feb. 10-12 

 

DEATH VALLEY, CA – Mark your calendars! The annual Death Valley Dark Sky Festival will take place February 10-12. Explore the wonders of space from one of the darkest locations in the United States. Join scientists and park rangers to learn about the cosmos and how Death Valley National Park has been used as an analog for the exploration of distant worlds.

Most people in North America cannot see the Milky Way from their homes due to light pollution. Death Valley National Park is a great place to see the stars. It is recognized as an International Dark Sky Park.

The Death Valley Dark Sky Festival is a partnership between the National Park Service, Death Valley Natural History Association, NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Ames Research Center, Las Vegas Astronomical Society, and California Institute of Technology.

All Death Valley Dark Sky Festival programs are free and open to the public. Some of the programs are specifically targeted for families with children. For a full list of programs and lodging options visit the park’s website at nps.gov/deva.

Friday, February 10 
1:00 pm – 2:00 pm Astrophotography for beginners
Furnace Creek VC auditorium
Bring DSLR camera and tripod.
6:00 pm – 7:00 pm Exploration of Venus by Ralph Lorenz, Applied Physics Lab

Furnace Creek VC auditorium

7:00 pm – 8:00 pm Night Sky Photography
Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes
Bring a DSLR camera and tripod.
8:00 pm – 8:45 pm Astronomy Program
Harmony Borax Works

Bring a red flashlight. Optional items are binoculars and a chair.

Saturday, February 11 
5:30 am – 6:30 am Moon Walk 

Badwater Basin 

Walk under the light of the moon. 

9:30 am – 10:30 am Searching for Signs of Life on Mars 

Mars Hill (junction of Badwater Road & Artists Drive Exit) 

Short walk

10:00 am – 11:00 am Dynamic Landscape of Death Valley, As Seen by NASA’s NISAR Mission 

Furnace Creek VC auditorium 

10:00 am – 4:00 pm Exploration Fair 

Furnace Creek VC courtyard 

Solar telescopes and booths staffed by scientists from NASA, JPL, SETI, CalTech, park rangers, Desert Studies Center, and the Las Vegas Astronomical Society.

10:00 am – 10:45 am

 

Build a Mars Lander (family programming)

Furnace Creek VC tent 

Become a NASA engineer! Design, build, and land your own “spacecraft” on Mars.

11:00 am – 12:00 pm Life in Europa’s Salty Waters? 

Badwater Basin 

11:00 am – 1:00 pm Ubehebe Crater: Mars-like Places on Earth 

Ubehebe Crater 

Strenuous walk to the bottom of Ubehebe Crater.

11:30 am – 12:30 pm The Science of Black Holes 

Furnace Creek VC auditorium 

1:00 pm – 2:00 pm 30 Years of Mars Exploration: The Roving Generation 

Furnace Creek VC auditorium 

1:00 pm – 2:00 pm SunRISE Mission Parallels Humans Hiking 

Dantes View 

2:00 pm – 2:45 pm Build a Mars Lander (family programming)

Furnace Creek VC tent 

Become a NASA engineer! Design, build, and land your own “spacecraft” on Mars.

2:30 pm – 3:30 pm Astrophotography for beginners
Furnace Creek VC auditorium
Bring DSLR camera and tripod. 
3:30 pm – 4:30 pm Dune Stories on Earth, Mars and Titan 

Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes 

Short walk into sand dunes. Compare and contrast dunes on Earth with other planets.

7:00 pm – 8:00 pm The Cosmic Autobiography by Katarina Markovic  

Furnace Creek VC auditorium 

Cosmology is the study of the full history of our universe from the first moment of the Big Bang, to its inevitable death in the distant future. Listen to the story about how we understand the universe came to be as it is, including its particles, forces, stars, galaxies, as well as the ever-mysterious dark matter and dark energy.

7:00 pm – 10:00 pm Star Party 

Sunset Campground overflow lot

Night sky viewing with telescopes. 

8:30 pm – 9:30 pm Night Sky Photography
Harmony Borax Works
Bring a DSLR camera and tripod. 
Sunday, February 12 
9:30 am – 10:30 am Searching for Signs of Life on Mars 

Mars Hill (junction of Badwater Road & Artists Drive Exit) 

Short walk 

10:00 am – 11:00 am Dynamic Landscape of Death Valley, As Seen by NASA’s NISAR Mission 

Furnace Creek VC auditorium 

11:00 am – 12:00 pm Life in Europa’s Salty Waters? 

Badwater Basin 

11:00 am – 12:00 pm Analog for Planetary Volcanism 

Ubehebe Crater 

Short walk

11:30 am – 12:30 pm Astronomist Q&A 

Furnace Creek VC auditorium 

1:00 pm – 2:00 pm 30 Years of Mars Exploration: The Roving Generation 

Furnace Creek VC auditorium 

1:00 pm – 2:00 pm SunRISE Mission Parallels Humans Hiking 

Dantes View 

3:30 pm – 4:30 pm Dune Stories on Earth, Mars and Titan 

Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes 

Short walk into sand dunes. Compare and contrast dunes on Earth with other planets. 

7:00 pm – 10:00 pm Star Party 

Sunset Campground overflow lot

Night sky viewing with telescopes.

www.nps.gov/deva- 

 Death Valley National Park is the homeland of the Timbisha Shoshone and preserves natural and cultural resources, exceptional wilderness, scenery, and learning experiences within the nation’s largest conserved desert landscape and some of the most extreme climate and topographic conditions on the planet. About two-thirds of the park was originally designated as Death Valley National Monument in 1933. Today the park is enjoyed by about 1,300,000 people per year. The park is 3,400,000 acres – nearly as large as the state of Connecticut. Learn more at www.nps.gov/deva.  

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Ask a Parent
Ask a Parent
2 hours ago

Nice! Sounds like fun. Too bad Inyo County took at least 12 years to create and pass a lighting ordinance, and now they refuse to do any enforcement