One of the last true dark skies in America...
As of spring 2016, Great Basin has been designated an International Dark Sky Park! The International Dark Sky Association has recognized that Great Basin provides distinguished and significant opportunities to experience dark nights. We protect our pristine nighttime environment for scientific, recreational, and cultural values.
On a clear, moonless night in Great Basin National Park, thousands of stars, numerous planets, star clusters, meteors, man-made satellites, the Andromeda Galaxy, and the Milky Way can be seen with the naked eye. The area boasts some of the darkest night skies left in the United States. Low humidity and minimal light pollution, combined with high elevation, create a unique window to the universe.
Want to make a difference with light pollution? Take a look at the International Dark Sky Association website for ideas and ways to improve your own home, neighborhood, or city.
Astronomy Program Schedule
Astronomy program days and start times change throughout the year. Programs are typically offered May through September on Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday nights between Memorial day and Labor Day. Programs continue into October on Saturdays only. Parking is limited and when parking is full, entrance to the program will be closed.
Astronomy program rules:
Great Basin National Park and the Nevada Northern Railway in Ely, NV are teaming up to offer the NNRW's Star Train! Riders begin their journey at the train station in Ely and ride the historic northern train route through Ely. Great Basin's dark sky rangers will be onboard to talk trivia, give out prizes, and answer questions. The train will stop out of town where passengers can disembark and look through high-powered telescopes to see planets, deep space objects, and more (weather permitting). The train will then return to the train station later that evening. Tickets are required. Go to Nevada Northern Railway's website to learn more about the train and reserve your spot. The trains sell out quickly.
Solar Telescope Viewing
On select summer afternoons, join us on the back porch of the Lehman Caves Visitor Center for safe solar telescope viewing of our closest star, the Sun! Great Basin has state-of-the-art solar telescopes to view sunspots, prominences, filaments, and magnetic storms. Fun for all ages. Ask a ranger if a solar scope will be operating during your visit!
Astronomy Festival - September 2023
Great Basin National Park hosted its 2022 Annual Astronomy Festival on September 22nd - 24th, 2022. Check the Great Basin Astronomy Festival page for 2022's schedule and events. We will update as we confirm 2023's schedule! Thanks for making our festival such a success!
Stargazing on Your OwnWant to explore the night sky on your own at Great Basin? Visit our stargazing page to learn where and when to go,what to bring, and what you might see.
Telescopes available at all astronomy programs have been generously funded by the Great Basin National Park Foundation.
Last updated: December 2, 2022