Death Valley National Park will host the the Death Valley Dark Sky Festival, a night sky and science festival an, on February 21-23, 2020. This event is a collaboration between the park, Death Valley Natural History Association, NASA, and many other organizations.
Death Valley offers some of the best stargazing in America. The International Dark-Sky Association has designated Death Valley National Park as a Gold Tier Dark Sky Park, the highest rating of darkness.
During the day, the Dark Sky Festival features guided hikes, ranger talks, family programming, and an exploration fair. At night, visitors can attend evening programs, night sky photography meet ups, and a star party.
Scientists from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center and Jet Propulsion Laboratory will present evening programs exploring the search for life on other planets.
On Friday night, space scientist Giada Arney will discuss how NASA scientists examine life that exists in extreme environments to help understand the limits of life on Earth and better predict where life might be found on other planets.
Saturday night includes a talk by Luther Beegle, Principal Investigator for the SHERLOC Instrument, part of the Mars 2020 Mission. Beegle will highlight the next stage of Mars exploration, the Mars 2020 mission, in the search for evidence of life.
Visitors can marvel at the night sky through telescopes on Friday and Saturday night with the Las Vegas Astronomical Society and the Riverside Astronomical Society. Photographers are also invited to meet up for night sky photography in prime park locations. Astrophotography experts and rangers will be on hand to assist newcomers to the art.
All Death Valley Dark Sky Festival programs are free, open to the public, and do not require registration. However, the standard park entrance fee of
$30 per vehicle is still applicable.