Lassen Volcanic National Park and NASA to Host Annual Dark Sky Festival
Contact: Darlene M. Koontz, 530-595-6102
Lassen Volcanic National Park, in collaboration with NASA, will host the 2014 Dark Sky Festival, announced Park Superintendent Darlene M. Koontz. This year's Dark Sky Festival, from August 1 to 3, is filled with exciting activities for all ages. Daytime activities include safe sun viewing through special solar telescopes, 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.
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 protecting naturally dark skies as well as its role in the search for life on other planets! Northstate Public Radio host, David Schlom together with astronomy educator, Dave Samuels, will deliver evening programs on the night sky at the Manzanita Lake Amphitheater. While at the Kohm Yah-mah-nee Visitor Center, NASA scientists will present exciting programs on the field of astrobiology featuring: Dave Blake, the principal investigator of the CheMin instrument onboard the Mars Science Laboratory (Curiosity), Dave Des Marais, the principal investigator of the NASA Astrobiology Institute Ames Research Center Team, Kirsten Fristad, NASA scientist, Niki Parenteau, NASA and SETI Institute scientist, and Sanjoy Som, NASA and Blue Marble Space Institute astrobiologist.
As night falls, Lassen will reveal magnificent star-filled skies, along with a chance to marvel at some of our neighboring planets, including Mars, Saturn, and if conditions are favorable, the dwarf planet of Pluto. 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 and in the Manzanita Lake area for public viewing each night of the festival. There will also be a special mobile observatory in use at the Kohm Yah-mah-nee Visitor Center. Dress warmly and come to Lassen for this year's festival, where half the park is after dark.
For more information, please visit the park website at www.nps.gov/lavo or contact park staff at (530) 595-4480 during the hours of 9:00 am to 5:00 pm.