News Release

Dinosaur National Monument Celebrates Dark Sky Park Certification with Astronomy Festival August 28 - September 1

A park ranger looks through a telescope at stars sparkling over the rocks of Split Mountain.
Stargazing with Telescopes is the most popular event at the annual Dark Skies Over Dinosaur astronomy festival.

NPS/Jacob Holgerson

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News Release Date: August 21, 2019

Contact: Sonya Popelka, (435) 781-7701

Dinosaur, Colorado and Jensen, Utah – Dinosaur National Monument will present the annual Dark Skies Over Dinosaur astronomy festival from Wednesday, August 28 through Sunday, September 1, 2019. Events include daytime and nighttime programs in both Utah and Colorado.

This year’s astronomy festival holds special meaning as the monument celebrates its recent certification as a Dark Sky Park by the International Dark Sky Association. While the certification does not carry any legal or regulatory authority, this distinction recognizes the skies above Dinosaur as having an exceptional quality of natural darkness. Monument efforts to control light pollution have enhanced this quality, and are contributing to enjoyment and protection of dark skies for future generations. Since announcing Dark Sky Park status in April this year, attendance at night sky programs has already increased as Dinosaur gains popularity as a destination for astrotourism. 

National Park Service and Utah State Park staff, with the assistance of several volunteer astronomers, are excited to share this area’s stellar skies with the local community and visitors from around the world. Dark Skies Over Dinosaur events include Astro Junior Ranger programs, solar viewing, ranger talks, stargazing with telescopes, and two screenings of the documentary Saving the Dark. Details for these programs are listed below and can also be found at DinosaurNPS on Facebook and on this website's Guided Tours and Calendar of Events pages. All programs are free, regular entrance fees still apply. 

 
 
 
Dark Skies Over Dinosaur Schedule of Events August 28-September 1, 2019
 
Wednesday, August 28
2:00 - 4:00 pm Solar Viewing at the Quarry Exhibit Hall, UT 
2:30 - 3:00 pm Astro Junior Ranger Program at the Quarry Exhibit Hall, UT
7:00 - 7:45 pm Nights Without Lights Ranger Talk at the Green River Campground Program Circle, UT
9:00 - 10:30 pm Stargazing with Telescopes at the Split Mountain Campground, UT

Thursday, August 29
2:00 - 4:00 pm Solar Viewing at the Quarry Exhibit Hall, UT
2:30 - 3:00 pm Astro Junior Ranger Program at the Quarry Exhibit Hall, UT
7:00 - 8:30 pm Saving the Dark: Documentary and Discussion at the Uintah County Library, UT. Followed by optional walk around downtown Vernal.
9:00 - 10:30 pm Stargazing with Telescopes at Steinaker State Park, UT - a Dark Sky Park since 2018 (State Park evening entrance fee is $4.00 per vehicle)

Friday, August 30
1:00 - 2:00 pm Saving the Dark Documentary Film at the Canyon Visitor Center, CO
2:00 - 4:00 pm Solar Viewing at the Canyon Visitor Center, CO
2:30 - 3:00 pm Astro Junior Ranger Program at the Quarry Exhibit Hall, UT
7:00 - 8:00 pm Ladies of the Night Sky Ranger Talk at the Canyon Visitor Center, CO
9:00 - 10:30 pm Stargazing with Telescopes at the Plug Hat Butte Picnic Area, CO

Saturday, August 31
2:00 - 4:00 pm Solar Viewing at the Quarry Exhibit Hall, UT 
2:30 - 3:00 pm Astro Junior Ranger Program at the Quarry Exhibit Hall, UT
7:00 - 7:45 pm Going Batty Ranger Talk at the Green River Campground Program Circle, UT
9:00 - 10:30 pm Stargazing with Telescopes at the Split Mountain Campground, UT

Sunday, September 1
10:00 am - Noon Solar Viewing at the Canyon Visitor Center, CO
1:30 - 2:30 pm Ladies of the Night Sky Ranger Talk at the Quarry Visitor Center, UT
2:00 - 4:00 pm Solar Viewing at the Quarry Exhibit Hall, UT
2:30 - 3:00 pm Astro Junior Ranger Program at the Quarry Exhibit Hall, UT
  
 
 
Dark Skies Over Dinosaur Program Descriptions
 
Astro Junior Ranger Program
This activity, for kids of all ages, is out of this world!  Ask about the Junior Ranger Night Explorer book (while supplies last).
 
Fun with the Sun
Get close up and safe views of our closest star through special solar telescopes. Look for sun spots and solar prominences.
 
Going Batty Ranger Talk
Many animals, including bats, rely on natural darkness for survival. Find new ways to love these special nocturnal neighbors.
 
Ladies of the Night Sky Ranger Talk
Learn how the accomplishments of women in the fields of astronomy, astrophysics, and aeronautics ultimately connect all of us to the stars.
 
Nights without Lights Ranger Talk
Explore the importance of the dark night sky and its preservation, and imagine what it was like before there were lights at Dinosaur.
 
Saving the Dark Documentary
What do we lose when we lose sight of the stars? Improper lighting robs us of our night skies, disrupts our sleep patterns, and endangers nocturnal habitats. Saving the Dark is a film that explores the need to preserve night skies and ways to combat light pollution.
 
Stargazing with Telescopes
Thanks to many generous volunteer astronomers joining National Park Service and Utah State Park staff, enjoy views of distant planets, stars, galaxies and more with your naked eye and through a variety of telescopes. Please limit flashlights to preserve night vision (red covers provided), and do not bring pets into the telescope areas.



Last updated: August 21, 2019

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Mailing Address:

4545 Hwy 40
Dinosaur, CO 81610

Phone:

(435) 781-7700

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