Dark Skies over Dinosaur festival this weekend

DINOSAUR | Dinosaur National Monument will present the annual Dark Skies Over Dinosaur astronomy festival from Wednesday, Aug. 28 through Sunday, Sept. 1. Events include daytime and nighttime programs in both Utah and Colorado.

This year’s astronomy festival holds special meaning as the monument celebrates its recent certification as a Dark Sky Park by the International Dark Sky Association. While the certification does not carry any legal or regulatory authority, this distinction recognizes the skies above Dinosaur as having an exceptional quality of natural darkness. Monument efforts to control light pollution have enhanced this quality, and are contributing to enjoyment and protection of dark skies for future generations. Since announcing Dark Sky Park status in April this year, attendance at night sky programs has already increased as Dinosaur gains popularity as a destination for astrotourism.

National Park Service and Utah State Park staff, with the assistance of several volunteer astronomers, are excited to share this area’s stellar skies with the local community and visitors from around the world. Dark Skies Over Dinosaur events include Astro Junior Ranger programs, solar viewing, ranger talks, stargazing with telescopes, and two screenings of the documentary Saving the Dark. Details for these and other programs can be found at DinosaurNPS on Facebook and on the Guided Tours and Calendar of Events pages on the monument’s website www.nps.gov/dino. All programs are free, regular entrance fees still apply.

Special to the Herald Times