Astronomy Festival Volunteers

Astronomy Volunteers
Volunteers play an important role at Great Basin's Astronomy Festival.

NPS Photo

 

We Need Your Passion!

 
Volunteers are vital to the success of the Great Basin National Park Astronomy Festival. We depend on the excitement and expertise amateur astronomers bring to help our visitors connect with the pristine dark night skies at the park.
Thousands of visitors a year attend the more than 100 public astronomy programs we offer at Great Basin, with many visitors getting a glimpse of our vast Milky Way neighborhood for the first time. The capstone of our astronomy program is our annual Astronomy Festival, a three-day and three-night celebration of dark night skies held near the time of the new moon each September.

We rely on volunteers to assist with our nighttime telescope viewing opportunities during the festival. During our “star-party” events held Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights of the festival, volunteers will be asked to align their telescopes to local or deep-sky object(s) of their choice and allow the public to look through their equipment. Each night, telescope viewing is conducted for approximately 2-4 hours at our Picnic Area, located near the Lehman Caves Visitor Center. Volunteers should expect anywhere from 50 to 200 visitors per nights, with larger crowds on Friday and Saturday nights.
 

Check-in and Camping

All volunteers MUST check-in with a ranger upon arrival. A Park Ranger will be on site to assist with volunteer check-in and registration from noon to 4:00 PM Pacific Time each day of the festival. (Please drive to the Picnic Area and go beyond the “Closed to the Public” signs to the check-in table.) Volunteers arriving outside of these hours should proceed to the Lehman Caves Visitor Center front desk to check in with the ranger on duty.

Volunteer passes will be issued for proper vehicle identification and camping privileges, and must be displayed at all times during the festival. All volunteers will be required to complete appropriate volunteer applications upon their arrival at the park. Save some time before the festival and download the volunteer application here.

The telescope viewing area is also known as the Astronomer’s Camp during the Festival. Volunteers are permitted to tent camp in this area, allowing them to leave equipment set up for the duration of the festival. The area will be closed to the public, except for the nightly public viewing hours (typically, 7:30 PM to midnight ).

Additional campsites in the park will be set aside for volunteers with smaller RVs and trailers. For larger RVs and trailers (longer than 30 feet), the Lower Lehman Creek Campground will be open and camping fees will be waived for volunteers, but sites can only be obtained on a first-come, first-served basis and will not be reserved in advance. Electrical and sewer hook-ups are not available anywhere in the park.

You do not have to camp in the park to participate in the festival. Check-in for non-camping volunteers is the same as for camping volunteers (see above).
ASTRONOMER’S CAMP DETAILS

  • The area will be closed to the public outside of observing hours (7:30 pm – midnight, nightly).
  • The site has restrooms with flush toilets and running water, picnic tables, barbecue grills and fire pits (fire conditions permitting).
  • There is no electrical power available at the Astronomer’s Camp.
  • Only tent camping is permitted at the Astronomer’s Camp. RVs and trailers are permitted at reserved or first-come, first-served sites in one of the park campgrounds.
 

Thank You

Each year we plan a volunteer thank-you dinner on Saturday at 4:30 PM, catered by and held at a local Baker restaurant, or as a barbecue picnic in the park. Prizes for trivia contest winners and outstanding volunteers will be awarded at the thank-you dinner.

 

Questions?

Please email us. Thank you!

Last updated: July 24, 2018

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

Great Basin National Park
100 Great Basin National Park

Baker, NV 89311

Phone:

(775) 234-7331
Available 8:00 am - 4:00 pm, Monday through Friday. Closed on Federal holidays.

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