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The Dark Sky

Most people I know are focused on Monday, August 21, 2017, when a total solar eclipse will occur for the first time in 26 years in North America, coursing a diagonal path from Oregon across to South Carolina.

The moon will also be in its dark phase on August 21st-22nd with only 1% visible, which makes it optimal for stargazing. A good place to do that away from city lights is Lassen National Park. They are having their 2017 Dark Sky Festival from Friday through Sunday, August 11-13, 2017, when we will still be in a gibbous moon phase, waning  from the full moon on August 8th. If you are inclined to visit the park during their Festival time, you can “join park rangers, astronomers, and astrobiologists in celebrating all that is out of this world during Lassen’s Dark Sky Festival. Special programs, presentations, hikes, and Junior Ranger Night Explorer activities will be offered during the festival. View photos from the Dark Sky Festival on Flickr or a video about the festival on YouTube.”

Highlights Include: Nightly constellation tours and stargazing; astronomy activities including solar scope viewing, Junior Ranger Astronomy, and hands-on activities; discussions and demonstrations by National Park Dark Sky rangers, NASA, the International Dark Sky Association, and the Astronomical Society of Nevada. See the full 2017 Dark Sky Festival schedule here. (1.7 MB, PDF)