Lassen Volcanic National Park and NASA to host Dark Sky Festival
Lassen Volcanic National Park and NASA will host the 2013 Dark Sky Festival, announced Park Superintendent Darlene M. Koontz. This year’s Dark Sky Festival from Aug. 9 to 11 is filled with exciting activities for all ages. Daytime activities include scale solar system hikes, special junior ranger astronomy activities, workshops, demonstrations from astronomy educators and a chance to learn about the exciting field of astrobiology from NASA scientists and Red Bluff High School interns.
When the sun sets, the fun continues at the Dark Sky Festival where visitors will discover that “half the park is after dark.” They will have the chance to learn about Lassen’s role in the search for life from NASA scientists in keynote programs featuring Dave Blake, the principal investigator of the CheMin instrument on board the Mars Curiosity rover; Kevin Zahnle, a planetologist with the NASA Astrobiology Institute Ames Team; and Dave Des Marais, the principal investigator of the NASA Astrobiology Institute Ames Research Center Team.
As night falls, Lassen will reveal star-filled skies, along with a chance to marvel at this year’s spectacular Perseid meteor shower, which will be at its best after midnight. Plenty of big telescopes will be available for the public to view the celestial wonders of Lassen’s dark sky. Telescopes will be set up at Bumpass Hell parking area for public viewing each night of the festival from 9:30 to 11:30 p.m. There will also be a special mobile observatory in use at the Kohm Yah-mah-nee Visitor Center at the same times. Visitors are encouraged to dress warmly and come to Lassen for this year’s festival, where “half the park is after dark.”
For more information, visit the park website at nps.gov/lavo or contact park staff at 595-4480 during the hours of 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.