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VA – August 2023 / Newsmaker Alert: Shenandoah
National Park will celebrate the annual Night
Sky Festival, August 11-13, 2023. Featured speakers, including amateur
astronomers, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Solar
System Ambassadors, and a veteran NASA astronaut, will present on topics
ranging from asteroid defense to the largest known impact crater in the
United States. Ranger-led programs will focus on animals that rely on dark
skies, each planet’s role in the solar system, and stories told by the
constellations. There will be opportunities for stargazing, constellation
tours, Junior Ranger activities, and more.
Rangers and guest speakers will encourage visitors to gain appreciation
for dark skies through a variety of special programs and activities. Programs
and presentations will take place at Dickey
Ridge Visitor Center (mile 4.6 on Skyline Drive), Mathews Arm Campground
Amphitheater (mile 22.1), Skyland Amphitheater (mile 42.5), Byrd Visitor
Center and Big Meadows (mile 51), and Loft Mountain Amphitheater (mile
astronaut and space scientist Tom Jones returns this year with three presentations
in Byrd Visitor Center Auditorium. Jones will present “When Rocks Attack:
Defending Earth from Asteroids” and “Beyond Earth: Humanity’s Future in
Space” Saturday, August 12, at 5:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m., respectively, “Sky
Walking: An Astronaut’s Journey” Sunday, August 13, at 11:00 a.m., and
“The Future of U.S. Human Spaceflight” Sunday, August 13, at 9:00 p.m.
in Big Meadows Lodge Massanutten Room.
making a return this year is NASA Solar System Ambassador Greg Redfern.
Attend Redfern’s presentations in Byrd Visitor Center Auditorium for “The
Chesapeake Bay Impact Crater” Friday, August 11, and Sunday, August 13,
at 5:00 p.m. and “Shenandoah Skies and the Perseids” all three nights,
August 11-13, at 6:00 p.m.
amateur astronomers for a “Telescope Party” Saturday, August 12 at 10:30
p.m. to view stars and the Perseid meteor shower in two locations: Dickey
Ridge Visitor Center with Northern Virginia Astronomy Club, or Big Meadows
with Rappahannock Astronomy Club, Richmond Astronomical Society, and the
University of Virginia Department of Astronomy.
Paul Atkinson will share his approach to night sky landscape photography
during his program “Making Art in the Dark” Friday, August 11, at 3:30
p.m. in Byrd Visitor Center Auditorium. The Artist-in-Residence program
is financially supported by Shenandoah National Park Trust, the official
philanthropic partner of the park.
annual festival and featured speakers are sponsored by Delaware North,
the park’s concessioner, and Shenandoah National Park Association. For
a full list of Night Sky Festival activities, please visit, www.NPS.gov/shen/planyourvisit/night-sky-festival.htm.
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