Badlands Astronomy Festival will take place July 29-31 | Local

The Badlands Astronomy Festival 2022 will be held July 29-31, bringing together space and science professionals, amateur astronomers, educators and visitors for a three-day celebration of the night sky, sun and the wonders of the planet. space exploration.

Nestled in a corner of the Great Plains away from light pollution, the Badlands offer visitors dazzling views of the night sky. The free event, co-sponsored by Badlands National Park and NASA’s South Dakota Space Grants Consortium, will feature public star-studded parties, with family-friendly events and activities throughout the day.

Events will include a scaled solar system tour and walk, solar telescope viewing, public stargazing activities, static displays, and a variety of guest speakers, including a presentation on the Hubble Telescopes and James Webb.

Telescopes will be provided by astronomers from the Black Hills Astronomical Society, Badlands National Park, Dark Ranger Telescope Tours and the University of Utah for day and night observations, according to a National Parks press release. Service. The event will also include equipment demonstrations by professional and amateur astronomers.

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The calendar of events begins on Friday, July 29, with a planetary walk from 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m., meet in front of the theater at the Ben Reifel Visitor Center inside. The planet walk will take place on Saturday and Sunday, also, at the same time.

From 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. each day there will be a “Sun Fun Solar Observing” event, where visitors can observe solar flares and sunspots through a special telescope, as well as various other sun-based activities.

Evenings will begin with guest speakers each evening at 9 p.m. at the Cedar Pass Campground Amphitheater – Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Friday’s speaker will feature Tom Durkin of the NASA Space Grant Consortium, South Dakota School of Mines, Rapid City, titled “Journey to the Stars with NASA’s Space Telescopes: Hubble and James Webb.” The presentation, according to the NPS website, will take the audience on a virtual journey through space past the sun, several of our solar system’s planets, stars and exploding nebulae in the Milky Way galaxy and very distant galaxies.

Saturday’s speaker will be Megan Ostrenga, The Journey Museum, Rapid City, who will speak on “Western Skies and Lakota Star Knowledge.” Ostrenga’s talk will focus on the constellations from a Western and Lakota perspective, including the history of the constellations, how to find them, and the corresponding star stories.

Sunday will wrap up with Kevin Poe, Dark Ranger Telescope Tours, Bryce Canton, Utah. Poe’s speech, titled “Just 42!”, will center on the science of astronomy, offering attendees 42 things to learn before understanding the entire universe, the NPS website said.

Nightly presentations will be followed by a hands-on experience with several state-of-the-art telescopes and amateur astronomers offering constellation tours, the NPS press release says.

This free event is made possible by funding and support from the Badlands Natural History Association, NASA South Dakota Space Grant Consortium, Dark Ranger Telescope Tours, Black Hills Astronomical Society, Journey Museum and Learning Center, International Dark Sky Association, University of Utah, Badlands National Park Conservancy, Minuteman Missile National Historic Site, and Badlands National Park.

–Contact Laura Heckmann at [email protected]

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