REGIONAL— The National Park Service and the Voyageurs Conservancy are celebrating the natural wonder of Voyageurs National Park’s night skies with the park’s second annual summer …
REGIONAL— The National Park Service and the Voyageurs Conservancy are celebrating the natural wonder of Voyageurs National Park’s night skies with the park’s second annual summer star party, set for Aug. 18-Aug. 20. Special speakers, arts and crafts, music, telescope viewing, and guided constellation tours are all on tap for the event, which is free for all ages.
Conservancy and ranger-led activities will be held in the early evening at the Rainy Lake Visitor Center, Aug. 19 and the Kabetogama Lake Visitor Center on Aug. 20. Special speakers Paul Bogard and Astro “Bob” will inspire you with presentations about the galaxies, planets, and stars above our heads. Once the park goes dark, attendees will enjoy guided telescope sessions and constellation tours under Voyageurs’ star-studded skies.
Voyageurs was certified in 2020 as an International Dark Sky Park. This certification from the International Dark-Sky Association recognizes Voyageurs for the exceptional quality of its dark skies and its ongoing commitment to preserving darkness and educating the public about the night sky.
Some of the special events scheduled during the three-day celebration include:
• The End of the Night with Paul Bogard: Thursday, Aug. 18, from 5 - 6 p.m. at Thunderbird Lodge on Rainy Lake. A starry night is one of nature’s most magical wonders. Yet in our artificially lit world, most of us no longer experience true darkness. In this talk based on his critically acclaimed book “The End of Night,” Paul Bogard seeks to restore our awareness of the spectacularly primal, wildly dark night sky and how it has influenced the human experience across everything from science to art. Using a blend of personal narrative, natural history, science, and astronomy, Bogard shares the importance of darkness—what we’ve lost, what we still have, and what we might regain—and the simple ways we can reduce the brightness of our nights. This event is free, registration is required, and space is limited. Reserve your spot at voyageurs.org/starparty or call (612) 333-5424.
• Family-Friendly Programs: Friday, Aug. 19, from 6 p.m. to 12 a.m. at the Rainy Lake Visitor Center upper parking lot. Rangers will lead evening programs on astronomy arts and crafts, a solar system hike, S’mores and stories around the campfire, and more. Attendees will enjoy family-friendly activities that will introduce you to the wilderness above your head.
From 9-9:30 p.m., “Astro” Bob King will give his Discover the Night presentation. Astro Bob is an amateur astronomer, author, and planetarium educator who taught at the UMD planetarium for many years. Learn about August’s celestial events and what makes Voyageurs’ dark skies so spectacular. Afterward, Astro Bob and park rangers will put your new night-watching skills to the test. View Jupiter and Saturn through a telescope, enjoy constellation tours over the park, and learn about astro-photography.
If you plan to take part in the night sky viewing, bring your own lawn chair and bug spray.
• A similar lineup of family-friendly activities is set for Saturday night, Aug. 20, from 6 p.m. to 12 a.m. at the Kabetogama Visitors Center. Astro Bob will be there with his presentation from 9-9:30 p.m., with star gazing to follow.
In the event of inclement weather, please visit Voyageurs National Park’s Facebook page for updates and cancellations at www.facebook.com/VoyageursNPS.
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