Dark Sky activities to experience while in Jasper

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.

photo credit Jeff Bartlett

photo credit Jeff Bartlett

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.

photo credit Jeff Bartlett

Kids with Col. Chris Hadfield. photo credit Jeff Bartlett

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.

Jasper Planetarium

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.

This year, the Jasper Skytram will remain open until November 1 for the first time ever. The Skytram closes at 5pm each day but is a nice activity to do during the day, and you know when you go to Jasper, you need to get the obligatory ‘King (or Queen) of the mountain’ photo.
Beyond the Stars - telescope 2 - Jeff Bartlett

photo credit Jeff Bartlett

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?

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Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Soozle Sep 24, 2015, 5:59 am

    Oh wow! Stunning photos! This sounds like a wonderful event to attend

    • Sheri Landry Sep 27, 2015, 11:23 pm

      I am looking forward to it and I can’t wait to share what we experience. Thanks for your comment.

  • Doris Calvert Sep 19, 2015, 4:02 pm

    We went last year and it’s so amazing! Going back this year if my health allows, went this summer as well when they had a shows and info in the fire hall.

    • Sheri Landry Sep 27, 2015, 11:24 pm

      Fabulous. Thanks for sharing Doris. I hope to see you there. I’ll be the one looking at the stars… Oh wait :)