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Celebrating ND starry nights

The public is invited to join astronomers, rangers and historians for a three-day festival celebrating North Dakota’s starry nights.

The Dakota Nights Astronomy Festival will be held Friday through Sunday, Sept. 7-9, in Medora and Theodore Roosevelt National Park.

The festival features evenings of star viewing, presentations, rocket building and children’s activities. Most activities are included with your park entry fee.

The daytime activities on Saturday and Sunday are:

* Discovery Dome Theater, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Immerse yourself in films about outer space,planets, stars and black holes. Films are shown in the fulldome theater on the hour.

* Kids’ crafts, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Take part in free hands-on activities that help kids learn about astronomy.

* Rocket building and launching, 1-4 p.m.

Build, paint and launch a rocket at Chimney Park in Medora. Rocket kits are $10.

* Solar viewing, 1-4 p.m.

Safely view the sun (and its spots) through telescopes at the De Mores Park in Medora.

* Solar System hikes, 1:30, 2:30 and 3:30 p.m.

Start at the sun and hike your way to Neptune. Learn about the planets in the solar system as you walk. Hikes begin at De Mores Park in Medora. The distance is .5 miles.

Featured presentations

8 p.m. Cottonwood campground amphitheater.

Speakers and topics will be announced.

Stargazing and telescopes

9 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday

Get an up-close look at stars, star clusters and planets in the telescope field at Peaceful Valley Ranch. Listen as astronomers and rangers share stories.To protect the night vision of others, the public is asked to leave flashlights, cell phones and all other light-emitting devices behind.

For questions, call the Park Service at 701-623-4466.