DEATH VALLEY, CA – Death Valley National Park will be hosting the Death Valley Dark Sky Festival, February 21-23, 2020. Everyone is invited to attend this night sky and science festival.
During the day, the Death Valley Dark Sky Festival rangers and scientists will lead guided hikes to explore the features of Death Valley and the similarities to other places in our solar system. During the exploration fair at the Furnace Creek Visitor Center, visitors can talk to scientists, observe demonstrations, and participate in activities like solar system walks and solar viewing. Families are also encouraged to attend hands-on space science programs designed specifically for children.
Scientists from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center and Jet Propulsion Laboratory will present evening programs exploring the search for life on other planets. On Friday night, space scientist Giada Arney will discuss how NASA scientists examine life that exists in extreme environments to help understand the limits of life on Earth and better predict where life might be found on other planets. Saturday night includes a talk by Luther Beegle, Principal Investigator for the SHERLOC Instrument, part of the Mars 2020 Mission. Beegle will highlight the next stage of Mars exploration, the Mars 2020 mission, in the search for evidence of life.
Death Valley offers some of the best stargazing in America. The International Dark-Sky Association has designated Death Valley National Park as a Gold Tier Dark Sky Park, the highest rating of darkness. Superintendent Mike Reynolds said, “Visitors from around the world travel to Death Valley to look at the night sky. Stargazing here is a unique and breathtaking experience.”
Visitors can marvel at the night sky through telescopes on Friday and Saturday night with the Las Vegas Astronomical Society and the Riverside Astronomical Society. Photographers are also invited to meet up for night sky photography in prime park locations. Astrophotography experts and rangers will be on hand to assist newcomers to the art.
The event’s partners include the Death Valley Natural History Association, NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Ames Research Center, SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence), the Riverside Astronomical Society, and the Las Vegas Astronomical Society.
All Death Valley Dark Sky Festival programs are free, open to the public, and do not require registration. However, the standard park entrance fee of $30 per vehicle is still applicable. For a list of programs and lodging options, visit the park’s website at www.nps.gov/deva.