Stargazing & Astronomy

Starry sky over Manzanita Lake
Night sky over Manzanita Lake

Alison Taggart-Barone

 
Lassen Astronomy poster, "See the Milky Way"

Half the park is after dark! From animals to plants and water to volcanoes, Lassen Volcanic National Park protects many different natural phenomena. One of the most spectacular is frequently overlooked -- our incredible, dark, night sky. Lassen Volcanic is one of the best places to learn about and enjoy the splendor of the night sky. Far from the light pollution of civilization, Lassen is one of the last sanctuaries of natural darkness. Whether you have yet to experience the grandeur of the Milky Way, or you are a dedicated amateur astronomer, Lassen's dark skies offer unparalleled view of the celestial wonders. Experience Lassen after dark:

  • Attend a Starry Night ranger-led program at various locations throughout the park
  • Join us for Lassen's Dark Sky Festival
  • Pick-up a night sky viewing book or sky chart from the Lassen Association bookstore, and explore the night skies on your own
  • Learn more about Night Skies online
  • Watch Lassen's Dark Sky video
 

Lassen Dark Sky Festival

Friday through Sunday, August 11, 12, and 13, 2017
Join park rangers, astronomers, and planetary geologists in celebrating all that is out of this world during Lassen's Dark Sky Festival.

 
A park ranger gazes at the Milky Way

Astronomy Programs

June 24 | Kohm Yah-mah-nee Visitor Center parking area | 10 - 11 pm
July 15 | Bumpass Hell parking area | 9:30 pm - 11 pm
September 17 | Bumpass Hell parking area | 9:00 - 10:30 pm

Join a park ranger for an evening program on stars, planets, and constellations. Hear stories and learn to locate objects in the sky. Programs are weather permitting and location may change due to road status. Check in at visitor centers prior to each event for updated information.

 
Ranger and visitor viewing an eclipse; a partial solar eclipse; and a poster of the path of totality

Partial Solar Eclipse

August 21, 2017 | 10:18 am
If you have eclipse viewing glasses, you can view the partial eclipse from anywhere in the park. You may also briefly catch a glimpse through a solar scope outside the Loomis Museum or Kohm Yah-mah-nee Visitor Center. The eclipse will begin at 9:03 am, reach max obscuration (86% at Lassen) at 10:18 am, and end at 11:40 am.

Planning for the Eclipse
As Lassen is not in the path of totality, we do not expect significant visitation specifically for the event. However, August is typically a busy time of year in the park. We encourage visitors to reserve campsites and lodging ahead of time if you would like to be in the park for the eclipse. Be prepared for busy roads and parking areas, especially at Bumpass Hell and Devastated Area, which have limited spaces.

Sun Safety

Remember eclipse viewing safety and come prepared. The Lassen Association bookstores located in the Loomis Museum and Kohm Yah-mah-nee Visitor Center will carry eclipse viewing glasses. It is possible they may sell out so we encourage visitors to purchase these items ahead of time and bring them with you to ensure you have them available to use. Never look at the sun without eclipse rated eyewear.

What is a Solar Eclipse?
A solar eclipse occurs when the moon blocks any part of the sun. On Monday, August 21, 2017 a solar eclipse will be visible (weather permitting) across all of North America. The whole continent will experience a partial eclipse lasting 2 to 3 hours. Halfway through the event, anyone within a 60 to 70 mile-wide path from Oregon to South Carolina will experience a total eclipse. During those brief moments when the moon completely blocks the sun’s bright face for up to 2 minutes 40 seconds, day will turn into night, making visible the otherwise hidden solar corona (the sun’s outer atmosphere). Bright stars and planets will become visible as well. This is truly one of nature’s most awesome sights. Visit NASA.gov for more information on the Great American Solar Eclipse.

Where to See a Total Solar Eclipse
The following National Park sites are located within the path of totality. These sites and other locations within the path of totality are expecting very high visitation for the event. Be sure to plan your visit well in advance.

John Day Fossil Beds NM
Grand Tetons NP
Homestead NM
Great Smoky Mountains NP
Fort Sumter NM

Last updated: June 22, 2017

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

PO Box 100
Mineral, CA 96063

Phone:

(530) 595-4480

Contact Us