NASA rep, astronaut, others featured at Night Sky Festival in Shenandoah National Park Aug. 11-13

Saturday events during 2017 Night Sky Festival. Evening program at Big Meadows titled "The Lives of Stars" given by NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory Solar System Ambassador Greg Redfern.

~ Press release provided by Shenandoah National Park

LURAY, July 27 — Shenandoah National Park will celebrate the annual Night Sky Festival, August 11-13. Featured speakers, including amateur astronomers, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Solar System Ambassadors, and a veteran NASA astronaut, will present on topics ranging from asteroid defense to the largest known impact crater in the U.S.

Ranger-led programs will focus on animals that rely on dark skies, each planet’s role in the solar system, and stories told by the constellations. There will be opportunities for stargazing, constellation tours, Junior Ranger activities, and more.

Park Rangers and guest speakers will encourage visitors to gain appreciation for dark skies through a variety of special programs and activities. Programs and presentations will take place at Dickey Ridge Visitor Center (mile 4.6 on Skyline Drive), Mathews Arm Campground Amphitheater (mile 22.1), Skyland Amphitheater (mile 42.5), Byrd Visitor Center and Big Meadows (mile 51), and Loft Mountain Amphitheater (mile 79.5).

Veteran astronaut and space scientist Tom Jones returns this year with three presentations in Byrd Visitor Center Auditorium. Jones will present “When Rocks Attack: Defending Earth from Asteroids” and “Beyond Earth: Humanity’s Future in Space” on Saturday, Aug. 12, at 5 and 7 p.m., respectively; “Sky Walking: An Astronaut’s Journey” Sunday, Aug. 13, at 11 a.m., and “The Future of U.S. Human Spaceflight” Sunday, Aug. 13, at 9 p.m. in Big Meadows Lodge Massanutten Room.

Also making a return this year is NASA Solar System Ambassador Greg Redfern. Attend Redfern’s presentations in Byrd Visitor Center Auditorium for “The Chesapeake Bay Impact Crater” Friday, Aug. 11, and Sunday, Aug. 13, at 5 p.m. and “Shenandoah Skies and the Perseids” all three nights, Aug. 11-13, at 6 p.m.

Join amateur astronomers for a “Telescope Party” Saturday, Aug. 12 at 10:30 p.m. to view stars and the Perseid meteor shower in two locations: Dickey Ridge Visitor Center with Northern Virginia Astronomy Club, or Big Meadows with Rappahannock Astronomy Club, Richmond Astronomical Society, and the University of Virginia Department of Astronomy.

Artist-in-Residence Paul Atkinson will share his approach to night sky landscape photography during his program “Making Art in the Dark” Friday, Aug. 11, at 3:30 p.m. in Byrd Visitor Center Auditorium. The Artist-in-Residence program is financially supported by Shenandoah National Park Trust, the official philanthropic partner of the park.

This annual festival and featured speakers are sponsored by Delaware North, the park’s concessioner, and Shenandoah National Park Association.

For a full list of Night Sky Festival activities,




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