Astronomy Programs

Stars and the Milky Way in the night sky with palm trees in the foreground.
The beauty of the night sky at Big Cypress National Preserve.

NPS Photo

 

Join us for an evening of dark sky education and celebration! View one of the darkest night skies in the eastern United States by attending a ranger-led astronomy program at Big Cypress National Preserve this winter.
Presentations will include constellation tours and telescope viewing (weather permitting) of astronomical objects including stars, star clusters, planets, nebulae, and galaxies. Here's a peek at images from past night sky programs.
These events are free and open to the public.

NOTE: In the event of inclement weather, the night sky programs will be moved indoors to the auditorium at the Nathaniel P. Reed Visitor Center. Please note that the auditorium has a maximum capacity of 75 persons.

 

Tentative Winter 2023-2024 Schedule

Programs will be held once per month in December, January, February, and March. The following dates have been scheduled for programs open to the public:

12/9/23 - 7:30pm - 8:30pm
1/13/24 - 8:00pm - 9:00pm
2/10/24 - 8:00pm - 9:00pm
3/9/24 - 8:30pm - 9:30pm

Dates of programs are subject to change. If you have questions or want more details, please call 239-695-1149.

 

Where?

Programs will be conducted at the southern end of Seagrape Drive, where the Nathaniel P. Reed Visitor Center is located (east of SR 29, between MM73 and 74 on US41).

Nathaniel P. Reed Visitor Center
33000 Tamiami Trail East
Ochopee, FL 34141
 

Special Considerations

Outdoor seating will not be available during the interpretive program, telescope viewing, and constellation tours. Visitors are encouraged to bring lawn chairs or blankets if seating is desired. Night temperatures can be cool and mosquitoes may be present. Visitors should be prepared for weather conditions.
Presentations may be conducted in the Nathaniel P. Reed Visitor Center auditorium if weather prevents night sky viewing. As space is limited inside the visitor center auditorium, seating will be available on a first come, first served basis.
Pants, long sleeve shirts or jackets, and bug spray are recommended. Please no white flashlights as it affects our night vision. Only flashlights with red lenses will be allowed. Individuals and local astronomy societies are welcome to bring personal binoculars and telescopes.

 
A ranger points out celestial objects with a green laser to onlooking visitors.
Ranger points out celestial objects to onlooking visitors.

Why Dark Skies?

Dark skies are essential natural, scientific, cultural, and economic resources. National park sites, including Big Cypress National Preserve, are home to some of the last remaining dark skies in the country and are committed to protecting the night sky resource.
Learn more about the importance of natural dark sky and how to minimize light pollution.

Last updated: January 16, 2024

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Contact Info

Mailing Address:

33100 Tamiami Trail East
Ochopee, FL 34141

Phone:

239 695-2000

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