It has been said that North Dakotans, especially those on the Western Edge, are lucky to have such beautiful night skies. To see the abundance of the universe above can make one feel so small, but so intrinsically connected to the greater universe -- especially when star glazing with friends and family.
Starting this weekend, Aug. 30, through Sept. 1, the seventh annual Dakota Nights Astronomy Festival will be held at the Theodore Roosevelt National Park and at select locations in the town of Medora.
According to the TRNP Media Advisory, daytime events will include model rocket building and launching in the town of Medora at Chimney Park from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., on both Saturday and Sunday. It will be $10 for the parts needed to build the rockets.
There will also be programs at the South Unit Visitor Center where people can go inside the Dickinson State University’s Discovery Dome to view films such as; “One World, One Sky: Big Bird's Big Adventure” (10:00 a.m.) and “Birth of the Solar System” (3:00 p.m.). Showings will be available both Saturday and Sunday between 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.
At the Cottonwood campground, every night between 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., there will be special guest speakers; each discussing a different topic of astronomy. Special guest speakers include, William Wren with Preserving our Night Sky, Dr. Matt Craig with Cosmic History of ND the Badlands and Brad Nasset with Finding Constellations.
Each night will also feature a telescope field for stargazing at Peaceful Valley Ranch, from 8:00 p.m. to 10:30 p.m., where stargazers can move from telescope to telescope, each focused on a different celestial body.
The Dakota Nights Astronomy Festival invites all area residents to join in on the wonderful event for the entire family, where science and curiosity collide and imaginations are awoken.