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Nevada: Great Basin invites you to the dark side for astronomy fest

August 30, 2013|By Mary Forgione | Daily Deal and Travel Blogger
  • The Milky Way over Wheeler Peak at Great Basin National Park in Nevada.
The Milky Way over Wheeler Peak at Great Basin National Park in Nevada. (National Park Service )

Few parks boast about their night sky as much as Great Basin National Park -- and with good cause. The park near the Nevada-Utah border is one of the darkest places in the country, which makes it an ideal place to see the Milky Way, stars, planets and other formations.

The fourth Great Basin National Park Astronomy Festival in remote Baker, Nev., from Sept. 5-7 invites visitors to spend time viewing the sun with solar telescopes by day and exploring the deep sky by night. The Dark Rangers, a group of astronomically minded park rangers, along with astronomers from Salt Lake City and Las Vegas will be your guides. 

It all happens at the park's Lehman Caves Visitor Center, where events are planned from afternoon to evening all three days -- and they're free. Award-winning night sky photographer Wally Pacholka will be the keynote speaker at 7 p.m. Sept. 6, and the film "The City Dark," about the Earth's threatened dark places, will be screened at 7 p.m. Sept. 7.

The festival also features events each day for kids, who can earn a Deep Sky Certificate based on their stargazing. Aside from the festival, there's plenty to do at this little-known park, such as touring the Lehman Caves, seeing ancient bristlecone pine trees and hiking to the summit of 13,063-foot Wheeler Peak.

Info: Great Basin National Park Astronomy Festival, (775) 234-7331

Mary.Forgione@latimes.com
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