The annual Dark Sky Festival is returning to Jasper, Alberta from October 16 to 25th. For those who love to gaze at the stars and beyond, this is an exciting event.
Jasper is the second largest Dark Sky preserve in the world. Light pollution removes so much of the night sky from our vision and we take for granted that what we see (or don’t) is the way it is. Trust me, when you remove light pollution from the picture, the sky lights up all on its own. Jasper has certain restrictions on light pollution to preserve their spectacular night views, and this is celebrated each year with their annual Dark Sky Festival.
Events are still being worked out for this year, but some guests are confirmed, including Col. Chris Hadfield, TELUS World of Science Edmonton, the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, and former Mythbusters hosts Grant Imahara, Kari Byron, and Tori Belleci. It’s going to be 10 days of science, stars, and me geeking out all over the place.
If you are able to make it out this year, you can find information, prices and accomodation at http://jasperdarksky.travel/. The festival is family-friendly with a lot of additional programming for kids of all school ages so pack those kids up, turn off their iPads, and show them what real stars look like.
If you are interested in some additional experiences while you are in Jasper, check out these suggestions.
Brewster Travel Canada
In conjunction with the Dark Sky Festival, Brewster is offering unique stargazing experiences during the month of October (select departure times): Glacier Skywalk Stargazing, and Glaciers & Stargazing Overnight Adventure. Click on the links for details and to book.
The Jasper Planetarium offers nightly astronomy interpretations under a large tented dome with Jasper’s resident “sky guy”, scientist Peter McMahon. Following a 45-minute program, guests can access high-powered telescopes to gaze at planets and constellations. For the early risers, a morning solar program is also available.
The Jasper Planetarium is the perfect year-round option for families looking to learn more about Jasper’s Dark Sky Preserve. Beyond the regularly scheduled programming, they also offer tours based around significant astronomy events such as meteor showers.
Canadian Skyline Adventures
Daring souls can join local guides in the centre of town and make their way to Old Fort Point as the sun sets. Blankets, fondue, and hot drinks await guests at the top of the lookout, accompanied by dark sky interpretation. Canadian Skyline Adventures can be booked into September, after that it is by request.
In Jasper, there truly is something for everyone. I hope to see you there in October. If not, I’ll Tweet and Instagram lots. That’s kind of like packing all of you in my giant luggage right?