The first Rocky Mountain National Park Night Sky Festival is now history. The park rangers put on a variety of astronomy related programs free for park visitors including opportunities to view the cosmos through a variety of telescopes and interesting presentations by professional astronomers and aerospace experts. Over 300 visitors attended the presentations and public viewing in Upper Beaver Meadows. Many thanks to the Northern Colorado Astronomical Society members and other amateurs that donated their time and shared their personal telescopes to provide hundreds of mini-tours of the solar system and beyond.
Mother Nature cooperated (mostly) and there were excellent observing conditions for at least part of each of the three nights. Attendees were treated to spectacular night time views of the park as well as the Milky Way and many of the summer constellations. Following interesting presentations by the park rangers visitors were able to view Saturn, Jupiter, and Venus through various telescopes early each evening and were then treated to informal but fascinating tours of deep-sky objects such as Double Stars, Nebulae, Globular Clusters, Galaxies, and more.
Guided activities were also held at various campgrounds each day and night over the three days including viewing the sun through solar telescopes. Presentations were made by experts on Astral Photography, The James Webb Space Telescope, Solar Astronomy, and the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera Team, and more.
Find more information about this amazing program and the great ongoing Astronomy In The Park program here, and link directly to the 2015 schedule here. If you attended, or wish to in the future, please contact the park and convey your thanks or let them know of your interest. The Astronomy In The Park program is a great ongoing program for all ages of visitors, but the Night Sky Festival was a special project for the park’s centennial celebration. If there is enough interest expressed perhaps it may become an annual event!