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Contact: Eileen Andes, 701-623-4466
MEDORA, ND: Theodore RooseveltNational Park and Historic Medora invite curious minds of all ages to spend anearly autumn weekend exploring our mysterious universe. Park rangers,astronomers, and space enthusiasts of all types will gather for the Second Annual Dakota Nights Astronomy Festival Friday, September 19 through Sunday, September 21.
Hailing from a wide range oflocations and backgrounds, this year's special guest speakers include auroraborealis expert Dr. Joe Shaw;Hubble Space Telescope and Mercury Messenger mission planner Mark "Indy" Kochte; Kevin "the Dark Ranger" Poe;and lifelong astronomy enthusiasts andpark rangers Kate and Jeff Zylland."
People have been studying the nightskies for millennia," said Superintendent Valerie Naylor. "Truly dark nightskies are necessary for us to continue to do so. Dakota Nights celebrates the beauty and fragility of this valuableresource in this era of intense development in western North Dakota. This festival will have something for people of all ages."
Daytime activities include model rocket building and launching, a "build your own telescope" workshop, "sungazing," solar system hikes, programs in Dickinson State University's Discovery Dome, and presentations by guest speakers. Evening events will reveal themysteries of the universe while star gazing in a field of more than 15 telescopesmanned by astronomers and park rangers. A night sky photography workshop willbe offered on Sunday evening for anyone who brings their own equipment. A complete listing of all activities and an event map are available on the park's website at www.nsp.gov/thro.