As our cities become more polluted, national parks have drawn more crowds than ever before with their hiking trails, picturesque drives, and camping spots. But it is also the enchanting allure of the night sky that captures those who want a phenomenal stargazing experience, which is why several parks are hosting stargazing events this summer. Here’s a list of some of them:
Grand Canyon National Park
While Arizona's Grand Canyon annual Star Party began Saturday, you still have time to make it, as this year's event will be held through June 17.
The party is free for all, and it includes astronomy presentations, telescope viewing, a photography workshop, and constellation programs. It begins at sunset and lasts until 11 p.m., but times will vary depending on how clear the sky is.
Bryce Canyon National Park
Utah's Bryce Canyon Astronomy Festival starts tonight!
The event is supposed to go through Saturday between 8 p.m. and 12:15 a.m., and it's also free for the public. They will have telescope viewing, constellation tours, lectures and "star stories" presentations, and live music performances.
Badlands National Park
In South Dakota, Badlands National Park partnered with the NASA South Dakota Space Grant Consortium for the 2023 Astronomy Festival, a 3-day celebration starting July 14 through July 16. While the schedule has not been fully released, the event will be free to the public, and it's expected to have a "scale model solar system tour and walk," guest speakers, solar observations, and equipment and telescope demonstrations by astronomers.
Shenandoah National Park
Extending along the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia, the Shenandoah National Park's Night Sky Festival takes place August 11–13 and starts as early as 2 p.m.
The festival will include ranger talks, stargazing sessions, lectures on space weather, space travel, and our future in space, along with presentations and activities for kids.
Great Basin National Park
Finishing up the summer in Nevada, Great Basin National Park's Astronomy Festival will go through September 14–16.
The party is expected to have telescope viewings, guest speakers, "art in the dark" events, constellation talks, and tours of the Great Basin Observatory.
The events are expected to start at 6:30 p.m. and run until 11 p.m.
If you can't make it to any of these parks, the National Park Service has an interactive map that offers a visual depiction of brightness measurements spanning the entire country, which could help you decide where to go for the best stargazing experience.
Other parks, like California'sJoshua Tree National Park, will continue the astronomy festivals through the fall as well.
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