DEATH VALLEY, Calif. – Clear skies, telescopes, and engaging speakers combined for a stellar experience at this year’s Dark Sky Festival in Death Valley National Park. The programs had a total attendance of 5,568. Many people stayed for all three days and enjoyed multiple programs.
The Dark Sky Festival included auditorium talks, field trips, astrophotography workshops, night sky tours and other presentations held from February 10 through 12. Over 1,500 people looked through telescopes hosted by the Las Vegas Astronomical Society.
“It was exciting to see so many people travel to Death Valley to enjoy the night sky,” said Superintendent Mike Reynolds. “This was a special opportunity for the public to interact directly with top scientists studying the planets and stars. And Death Valley National Park is an ideal place for this, because the park has supported a lot of planetary science research.”
The event’s partners included the Ames Research Center, California Institute of Technology (Caltech), Death Valley Natural History Association, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Las Vegas Astronomical Society, NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, and SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence).
The festival is an annual celebration of space and planetary science in one of the darkest locations in the United States. Dates for the 2024 Dark Sky Festival have not been set yet.
Death Valley National Park is the homeland of the Timbisha Shoshone and preserves natural resources, 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. Learn more at www.nps.gov/deva.
(Photo Below: Ralph Lorenz, from the John Hopkins Applied Physics Lab, talks about the exploration of Venus. NPS photo by J. Hallett)
(Photo below: Michael Tuite from NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory leads a guided field program at Mars Hill in Death Valley. NPS photo by J. Hallett )