Great Basin Astronomy Festival

The Veil Nebula

The Veil Nebula image taken from the 2012 astronomy festival

Jeffery Kaufman

Great Basin National Park
Astronomy Festival
September 10-12, 2015

Join park rangers and experience out of this world family fun, excitement, and learn about day and nighttime astronomy. Here at Great Basin National Park we have some of the best air quality in the nation which translates to clear daytime skies, and incredibly dark night skies.

Don't have your own telescope? There will be many telescopes of different makes, shapes, and sizes for you and your family to look at the sun, stars, planets and other deep sky objects including nebulae and galaxies.

 
Park Ranger Talent Show

Park Ranger Talent Show

NPS Photo

Why come to the Astronomy Festival?
We have a lot of things to enjoy at the Great Basin Astronomy Festival for all members of the family. Each day have fun looking and learning about our star, the Sun, through our safe solar telescopes. Enjoy a 'Astronomy 101' presentation which gives you have foundation for objects you see in the night sky. Sit down and relax as the park rangers present their night sky themed talents at the Ranger Talent Show. Then top off each night with viewing through over 30 telescopes, some as tall as 20 feet, with our expert astronomical volunteers at our Star Gazing session - see the highlights of the night sky - including planets and galaxies! Kids will enjoy earning their Deep Space Certificate (and a Milky Way candy bar) from the Dark Rangers and making special glow-in-the-sun solar bracelets.

Plus many, many more fun activities!

 
Derek Demeter - Festival Keynote Speaker

Derek Demeter - Director of the Buehler Planetarium

Derek Demeter - Festival Keynote Speaker

Great Basin National Park is excited to have Derek Demeter as this year's keynote speaker.

Ever since Derek could remember, he has been looking to the stars. Derek began working at the Buehler Planetarium at Seminole State College of Florida in 2003 while a Physics and Technical Education student. By 2007, Mr. Demeter was offered the position of planetarium director, and immediately began the process of writing and producing new shows, including a complete series of presentations that explore the astronomy and history of numerous cultures from around the world. Over much of the last decade, his passion for teaching people about the wonders of the universe has earned him accolades and recognition from the planetarium industry, his peers, and the community. Derek currently serves as the President-Elect of the Southeastern Planetarium Association. Derek enjoys promoting science beyond the planetarium with his work as an astrophotographer which earned him pictures seen in NASA's Astronomy Picture of the Day website, which is viewed by millions of people around the world. Derek also enjoys giving talks to venues such as astronomy festivals, local libraries, serving as President of the Central Florida Astronomical Society, and simply setting up a telescope at local venues to give the public a truly "out-of-this world" experience.

 

Schedule of Events

Thursday September 10
1:00pm - Solar Telescope Viewing & Solar Bracelet Making
3:00pm - Night Sky Photography Workshop (Great Basin Visitor Center - Tickets Required)
3:00pm - How to Use a Planisphere with Dark Ranger Steve
6:30pm - Park Ranger Talent Show
8:00pm - Kid's Program: Deep Space Observing Certificate! (Picnic Area)
8:00pm - 12:00am Telescope Viewing Area Opens (Picnic Area)
8:30pm - Constellation Tour (Picnic Area)
9:00pm - Star Stories Talk (Picnic Area)

Friday September 11
12:00pm - Astronomy 101: Astronomy for Beginners Presentation
1:00pm - Solar Telescope Viewing & Solar Bracelet Making
2:00pm - When the Sun Goes Down with Dark Ranger Annie
2:30pm - Kid's Program
3:00pm - How to Use a Planisphere with Dark Ranger Steve
7:00pm - Festival Keynote Speaker Presentation - Derek Demeter
8:00pm - Kid's Program: Deep Space Observing Certificate! (Picnic Area)
8:00pm - 12:00am Telescope Viewing Area Opens (Picnic Area)
8:30pm - Constellation Tour (Picnic Area)
9:00pm - Star Stories Talk (Picnic Area)

Saturday September 12
6:00am - The Fremont Indian Culture: Sunrise at the Baker Archaeological Site
12:00pm - Astronomy 101: Astronomy for Beginners and Everyone
1:00pm - Solar Telescope Viewing & Solar Bracelet Making
2:00pm - From the Nursery to the Graveyard: the Life of a Star with Dark Ranger Kelly
2:30pm - Kid's Program
3:00pm - How to Use a Planisphere with Dark Ranger Steve
7:00pm - Evening Astronomy Presentation
8:00pm - Kid's Program: Deep Space Observing Certificate! (Picnic Area)
8:00pm - 12:00am Telescope Viewing Area Opens (Picnic Area)
8:30pm - Constellation Tour (Picnic Area)
9:00pm - Star Stories Talk (Picnic Area)

...more events to be added soon. Check back often!

 
Making solar braclets.

Making solar braclets.

NPS Photo

What is...? Events at the Festival
Kids Program and Deep Space Certificate
The astronomy festival is a family event and we know the excitement astronomy can bring to the younger members of the family. On Friday and Saturday afternoons, we will have presentations just for kids. Also, during the solar telescope observing we will have a table available to make special glow-in-the-sun solar bracelets. One of the most popular activities, kids will be able to earn their Deep Space Certificate, signed by the Great Basin Dark Rangers (and earn a Milky Way candy bar), each night at the 8:00pm at the telescope observing field. After getting their assignment they will be required to go to specific telescopes to see and learn about different deep sky objects like planets, galaxies, and nebulas!

Evening Astronomy Fun
Each evening of the festival there will be an astronomy event at the Lehman Caves Visitor Center.

Telescope Observing each night
Each night the dedicated volunteer astronomers will have many different telescopes available for public viewing. This is conducted at our observing field - an easy five-minute walk from the Lehman Caves Visitor Center.

Solar Telescope Observing
Each afternoon on the back porch of the Lehman Caves Visitor Center special sun-safe solar telescopes will be set up to view on closest star - the Sun. Look at for sunspots, and if you're lucky, see a solar flare!

Park Ranger Talent Show
On Thursday evening, the rangers of Great Basin National Park will show off their talents by performing astronomy themed acts at this most popular event of the festival.

Night Sky Photography Workshop
Interested in learning how to photograph the night sky? The Dark Rangers will be hosting a photography workshop on Thursday September 10 at 3:00pm. The workshop is free but is limited to 30 people. Reservations will be taken beginning September 1, 2015 by emailing here. The workshop will cover topics of preparing your camera and composition.

 
Astronomy Festival Map
 
 

Great Basin National Park Astronomy Festival Directions

in Baker, Nevada
 
Astronomy Volunteer

Astronomy Volunteer at Great Basin National Park.

Kelly Carroll

Volunteers Needed!
Are you an amateur or professional astronomer? Do you like to share your passion for astronomy with the public? We need your help! We are looking for volunteers for our festival. Give a presentation or just set up your gear for others to look through. Individuals and astronomy clubs are welcome.

Astronomer's camp: we have limited space where volunteers can camp on the astronomer observing field with your equipment. As an official astronomer volunteer we will waive any camping fees during the festival in our campgrounds but cannot reserve space.

More in-depth information or have a question? Please email us.

 

The Great Basin National Park Astronomy Festival is generously supported by Celestron Telescopes, the Las Vegas Astronomical Society, the Salt Lake Astronomical Society, and the National Parks Conservation Association.

Did You Know?