Road Work at Great Basin National Park
Beginning July 8, 2014 and continuing through the end of August there will be road work at Great Basin National Park on paved roads throughout the park. Delays of 10 minutes or less may occur. Updated 7/22/2014 More »
Great Basin Astronomy Festival
Great Basin National Park
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.
Why come to the Astronomy Festival?
Plus many, many more fun activities!
Schedule of Events
...more events are still being scheduled
What is...? Events at the Festival
Evening Astronomy Fun
Telescope Observing each night at 7:30PM
Solar Telescope Observing
Ranger Talent Show
Astronomy 101 and Planisphere Presentations
Night Sky Photography Workshop
Vic Maris - Keynote Speaker
Great Basin National Park is honored to have Vic Maris, owner of Stellarvue Telescopes, Park Ranger for the California State Parks, and longtime astronomy educator, for this year's keynote speaker. Vic's keynote address will be Friday September 19 at 6:30PM.
Vic began a lifelong pursuit of astronomy in the mid 1960's, after reading the Golden Book of Astronomy. "My father bought me a 60 mm refractor to encourage my interest in science, but that telescope almost ended my interest in astronomy." Vic fought the telescope for several nights, with its wobbly base and defective optics. After many attempts, the telescope was retired to his closet. "Far too many telescopes sit unused in closets because companies don't create them with the user in mind. If a telescope is not easy and enjoyable to use, it cannot do what it should; telescopes ought to foster a greater appreciation for the universe."
Vic, however, was lucky. Several people fostered his interest in astronomy from an early age. "The pursuit of astronomy has given me some inspirational experiences. I sincerely appreciate all of those people who helped me along my way." Vic was also lucky to live in Southern California where some of the best telescope makers could be found and they where willing to mentor him.
After being introduced to telescope making at the age of 14, Vic polished his first 6" mirror in the mid 1960's. Not being content with that he took on the challenge of making a 5" f-15 refractor at the age of 16. He was mentored by the best telescope makers in the late 1960's. After graduation, Vic pursued a career working in California State Parks as a ranger and later, a superintendent. He worked 30 years for parks often playing a significant role in protecting the environment and setting up star gazing opportunities in many parks. As Vic neared retirement he was teaching astronomy in Sacramento and his students encouraged him to make telescopes that actually worked. So Stellarvue started in Vic's garage back in 1998 and today we have produced more than 9,000 excellent telescopes.
Great Basin National Park Astronomy Festival Directions
in Baker, Nevada
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.
Did You Know?
The Hydrographic Great Basin is a 200,000 square mile area that drains internally. All precipitation in this region evaporates, sinks underground, or flows into lakes. No water reaches the ocean.