Rocky Mountain National Park hosts Night Sky Festival | SkyHiNews.com

Rocky Mountain National Park hosts Night Sky Festival

Staff Report

America's national parks contain many cherished treasures. Among them are captivating natural sounds and awe-inspiring night skies. Seeing the Milky Way or a particular constellation can be inspirational for park visitors. In Rocky Mountain National Park, as in other parks, natural darkness of starry skies is an important resource of this special place.

Another important feature of national parks is natural sounds. In 1998, the Estes Valley League of Women Voters organized a campaign to ban commercial overflights in Rocky Mountain National Park. This legislative bill was passed by Congress.

On July 17, and 18, there will be special night sky programs. This Night Sky Festival is part of the parks' Centennial events, and the first time this Festival has been held in Rocky.

On July 18, there will be special activities to commemorate World Listening Day and the importance of natural sounds.

Night Sky Festival

July 17 and 18 – Family Night Sky Activities

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Moraine Park Discovery Center—11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Activities will include solar observing, special booths and activities and earning a Night Sky Junior Ranger book and patch!

Friday, July 17

Beaver Meadows Visitor Center—7:30 p.m.

New Horizons — Come see the first clear images of Pluto, courtesy of Ball Aerospaces's Ralph camera.

Upper Beaver Meadows — 8:15 p.m.

Astronomy in the Park — Observe the night sky with the help of a park ranger and expert volunteer astronomers. Bring warm clothes, binoculars, and a flashlight.

Harbison Meadow Parking Area — 9 p.m.

Celestial Wilderness — Use a telescope and join a ranger to explore the astronomy of Rocky's night sky.

Moraine Park Campground — 9 p.m.

The Moon: A New Perspective — Join us for a brief history of the Moon and its formation, with images of the lunar surface from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Spacecraft currently orbiting the moon.

Glacier Basin Campground — 9 p.m.

Night Sky Photography Workshop—Stan Honda, a night sky photographer will give a hands-on workshop on how to take great pictures of night skies with an ordinary camera.

Saturday, July 18

Beaver Meadows Visitor Center—7:30 p.m.

James Webb Space Telescope — Dr. Joel Green of the Space Telescope Institute will discuss the formation of protoplanets and their transformation into exoplanets as well as the upcoming mission of the James Webb Space Telescope.

Upper Beaver Meadows — 8:15 p.m.

Astronomy in the Park — Observe the night sky with the help of a park ranger and expert volunteer astronomers. Bring warm clothes, binoculars, and a flashlight.

Moraine Park Campground — 9 p.m.

The Aurora: More Than Pretty Lights in the Sky — Dr. Frank Eparvier of the University of Colorado at Boulder Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics will discuss the impact that space weather has on our lives.

Glacier Basin Campground — 9 p.m.

The Moon: A New Perspective — Join us for a brief history of the Moon and its formation, with images of the lunar surface from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Spacecraft currently orbiting the moon.

Saturday, July 18 – Celebrate World Listening Day

The Sounds Of Silence – A Celebration Of The Ban On Commercial Air Tours Over Rocky, Beaver Meadows Visitor Center Plaza and Auditorium – 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

World Listening Day celebrates natural sounds all over the world. From 10-4, come join in on fun activities to discover the beauty of natural sound. There will be crafts, interactive games, and a natural sound scavenger hunt. At 1 p.m., hear the story of how, in 1998, the Estes Valley League of Women Voters organized a letter writing and phone call campaign to garner support from Congress to ban commercial overflights over Rocky Mountain National Park and "Banned the Buzz!"

Programs are free and open to the public. Entrance fees apply except for programs held at the Beaver Meadows Visitor Center. You do not need to be staying in the park campground to attend the evening campground programs. For more information, please call the park's Information Office at 970-586-1206.

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