4th Annual Night Sky Festival

NOTE: While we're busy planning, please check out our 2018 details below to get an idea of what to expect in 2019!


August 2019

Activities take place in a variety of locations throughout Shenandoah National Park.

Little Stony Man Night Sky - Shenandoah National Park

Celebrate the valuable resource of dark skies through guest presentations by astronomy experts, NPS Ranger Programs, and viewing the captivating night skies Shenandoah National Park protects.

The festival will include constellation tours, solar scope viewing, telescope viewing, Junior Ranger programs, audio-visual presentations, hands-on activities, and will culminate in viewing the 2017 Solar Eclipse!

Night Sky Junior Ranger Explorer books are available for free throughout the weekend and can be picked up at Park visitor centers.

Stay at Skyland (mile 41.7 & 42.5) or Big Meadows Lodge (mile 51) for convenient, in-park lodging closest to the activities! But, book now, because rooms fill fast.

Book Your Shenandoah Reservation Today Skyland

Book Your Shenandoah Reservation Today Big Meadows Lodge

For full festival details, visit the NPS website.

Click Tab to View Events:

All programs are free. Dress for cool summer nights.

Friday, August 10, 2018

Ranger's Choice Talk
11.00 a.m.

(Dickey Ridge Visitor Center, 20-30 minutes)
Find out how dark skies are important to Shenandoah National Park.
Wheelchair accessible, assisted listening device available upon request.

Night Skies
7:30 p.m.

(Rapidan Fire Road parking lot, across from Byrd Visitor Center)
Join amateur astronomers for a presentation on light pollution and the value of dark skies as you gaze at planets and stars through telescopes. Program will be canceled if weather is inclement. Call (540) 999-2222 on the day of the event to check status.

Loft Mountain Evening Program: Owls: Efficient Winged Predators
8:30 p.m.

(Loft Mountain Amphitheater, 45 minutes)
There are some amazing nocturnal hunters in the park! Discover how the park manages resources and habitats on which these birds rely.
Wheelchair accessible, assisted listening device available upon request.

Skyland Evening Program: The Last Frontier
8:30 p.m.

(Skyland Amphitheater, 45 minutes)
We have come a long way since John Lederer became the first European to document his discoveries west of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Today we set our eyes on space. Come learn about recent discoveries and how we can all play a role in protecting our night skies.
Wheelchair accessible, assisted listening device available upon request.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Ranger's Choice Talk
11.00 a.m.

(Dickey Ridge Visitor Center, 20-30 minutes)
Find out how dark skies are important to Shenandoah National Park.
Wheelchair accessible, assisted listening device available upon request.

Wild Side of Shenandoah
11:30 a.m.

(Byrd Visitor Center patio, 20-30 minutes)
Discover how different animals rely on dark skies for survival.
Wheelchair accessible, assisted listening device available upon request.

Solar Viewing
12:00 p.m.

(Dickey Ridge Visitor Center patio)
Stop by anytime between 12:00 p.m. and 2:00 p.m. to safely view our closest star through a solar scope and learn about the center of our solar system.

Solar Viewing
1:00 p.m.

(Byrd Visitor Center patio)
Join NASA Solar System Ambassador Kristin Hendershot anytime between 1:00 p.m. and 2:30 p.m to safely view our sun, using a telescope with solar filter, and learn about the center of our solar system.
Wheelchair accessible, assisted listening device available upon request.

Junior Ranger Program
2:30 p.m.

(Byrd Visitor Center, 1.5 hours)
Learn about stories in the stars and design your own constellation, then head outside to find out how animals rely on dark skies. Designed for ages 7-12. Children must be accompanied by an adult.
Assisted listening device available upon request.

How’s the Weather in Space?
3:00 p.m.

(Byrd Visitor Center auditorium, 45 minutes)
Learn how NASA forecasts space weather that is caused by our dynamic sun with NASA Solar System Ambassador Kristin Hendershot.
Wheelchair accessible, assisted listening device available upon request.

Beyond Earth: Humanity’s Future in Space
4:30 p.m.

(Byrd Visitor Center auditorium, 45 minutes)
Join veteran astronaut and space scientist Tom Jones to find out about technology breakthroughs that will open the solar system to scientific exploration, tourism and explosive growth of commercial opportunity. Event sponsored by Delaware North Companies.
Wheelchair accessible, assisted listening device available upon request.

Junior Ranger Program
4:30 p.m.

(Meet at parking lot near Mathews Arm Campground entrance kiosk, 1 hour)
Through hands-on activities, discover the amazing world of animals, from mammals to insects, that are active at night. Designed for ages 7-12. Children must be accompanied by an adult.

Evening Ranger Talk: The Last Frontier
5:00 p.m.

(Dickey Ridge Visitor Center, 45 minutes)
We have come a long way since John Lederer became the first European to document his discoveries west of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Today we set our eyes on space. Come learn about recent discoveries and how we can all play a role in protecting our night skies.
Wheelchair accessible, assisted listening device available upon request.

Sky Walking
7:00 p.m.

(Byrd Visitor Center auditorium, 45 minutes)
Want to know what it’s like to journey above our planet? Four-time space traveler Tom Jones will take you on a virtual trip, from a rumbling blast-off before you soar into orbit, take a spacewalk at the International Space Station, endure a fiery re-entry and return to Earth. Book signing will take place following Tom's presentation.
Wheelchair accessible, assisted listening device available upon request.

Evening Ranger Talk: Howls and Owls
7:30 p.m.

(Mathews Arm Campground Amphitheater, 45 minutes)
Join a Ranger to learn about things that hoot, howl, and go bump in the night at Shenandoah National Park.
Wheelchair accessible.

Shenandoah Sky and the Perseids
8:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m.

(Byrd Visitor Center auditorium, 45 minutes)
As NASA Solar System Ambassador Greg Redfern explains: half the park is after dark! Learn how you can see our own Milky Way galaxy at Shenandoah National Park, and how to view the 2018 Perseid Meteor Shower.
Wheelchair accessible, assisted listening device available upon request.

Loft Mountain Evening Program: Owls: Efficient Winged Predators
8:30 p.m.

(Loft Mountain Amphitheater, 45 minutes)
There are some amazing nocturnal hunters in the park! Discover how the Park manages resources and habitats on which these birds rely.
Wheelchair accessible, assisted listening device available upon request.

Under the Stars
9:00 p.m.

(Rapidan Fire Road parking lot, across from Byrd Visitor Center)
Join Rangers anytime between 9:00 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. for stargazing and constellation tours.
Wheelchair accessible, assisted listening device available upon request.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Ranger’s Choice Talk
11:00 a.m.

(Dickey Ridge Visitor Center, 20-30 minutes)
Find out how dark skies are important to Shenandoah National Park.
Wheelchair accessible, assisted listening device available upon request.

Migration Headache
3:00 p.m.

(Meet outside Byrd Visitor Center)
Take on the identity of a specific bird and follow it through its migration journey. Will you make it home? Come by anytime between 3:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. to play this interactive game.
Assisted listening device available upon request.

Big Meadows Evening Program: Meteor Showers: Hot and Cold
8:30 p.m.

(Big Meadows Amphitheater, in the picnic grounds, 45 minutes)
Find out what NASA missions have learned about the origins of meteor showers and the best ways to view these sky-streaking shows with NASA Solar System Ambassador Kristin Hendershot.
Wheelchair accessible, assisted listening device available upon request.

Under the Stars
9:00 p.m.

(Dickey Ridge Visitor Center, 1.5 hours)
Join Rangers with for stargazing and constellation tours.

Stargazing and Meteor Watching
9:30 p.m.

(Rapidan Fire Road parking lot, across from Byrd Visitor Cente)r
Join amateur astronomers to watch the stars and Perseid Meteor Shower. Bring lawn chairs, blankets & dress for cool summer nights. Program will be canceled if weather is inclement. Call (540) 999-2222 on the day of the event to check status.

All activities are held at Big Meadows Lodge (mile 51 on Skyline Drive).

For questions and full event details call 540-999-2222.

 

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