Get Outdoors at Night: Check Out the Death Valley Dark Sky Festival

When you think of festivals, you may imagine loud bands, big crowds, and expensive food and drinks. Plenty of national parks hold their own festivals, but they’re usually a lot quieter. Death Valley National Park will host their Dark Sky Festival in a little more than a week.

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According to a news release, the event is an excellent way to check out the vibrant night sky in the park. The event kicks off on Friday, March 1 and runs through Sunday, March 3. While you won’t see the crowds that come with Coachella, last year, 3,5000 people attended the event.

The Death Valley Dark Sky Festival features 32 live presentations, field programs, exploration fairs, family programs, telescope viewings, and more. There will be park rangers and scientists available to assist visitors. Plus, programs run during the day and at night, so people of all ages can learn and enjoy.

The National Park Service will host the event along with NASA, SETI, and other astronomical organizations. So, the festival focuses on more than the night sky at Death Valley and talks heavily about space in general.

Death Valley Dark Sky
(Source: Venti Views)

“Death Valley National Park is excited to host this no cost event, which will connect park visitors with dark skies and a host of renowned specialists and experts,” said Superintendent Mike Reynolds in their press release. “We hope you can make it out to Death Valley for this family friendly event.”

Death Valley Dark Sky Certification

Like other national parks, Death Valley has a certified dark sky rating, giving visitors a great view of the night sky and stars. Dark sky ratings help determine how much light pollution exists, which is why you can see things like the Milky Way in more rural areas compared to the night sky in a large city.

The park has hosted the event for 12 years, but there’s a unique twist this year. Part of the event will be virtual. This online portion allows people from all over the world to join in on the fun. The digital event will be held the day before on Thursday, February 29, at 6:00 PST. The event is called “Rock n’ Rover: Exploring Mars and Death Valley with Curiosity” and focuses on the Mars rover and the Red Planet.

For a complete list of events and to participate in the virtual portion, you can head to the Death Valley website.