Image Credit: NPS

Image Credit: NPS

To celebrate the National Park Service’s 100th birthday this year, Death Valley National Park is hosting the Celestial Centennial, a night sky and space festival. Taking place April 8-10, the Celestial Centennial celebration will include talks, field trips, programs, and expositions with experts, rangers, NASA scientists and many more.


Join a Ranger, scientist, or other expert to a place in Death Valley that is out of this world! Many sites in Death Valley are used as an analog for places like Mars. The alien-like landscape of this National Park helps scientists test theories and equipment, like the Mars Rover, before employing them in space.


Learn about current research and exploration in a talk at the Furnace Creek Visitor Center. Lecture style programs will be available through the weekend. Family Friendly activities and talks will also take place.


Come see, touch, and experience for yourself what is happening in the cosmos by attending the Exposition on the Furnace Creek Visitor Center Lawn from 9 am –1pm on Saturday, April 9. Booths by NASA, JPL, SETI, Rangers, Astronomical Societies and more. Limited booths will also be open on Sunday morning.


Want to see the universe and beyond? The Night Sky Expo, on Saturday, April 9 will host telescopes for you to view space! Experts will be standing by to answer questions and help you view the night sky in a variety of ways. This event will be kicked off by a presentation by the Timbisha Shoshone, the native people of Death Valley.


Join Death Valley National Park’s superintendent Mike Reynolds in opening the event. Presentations by Dr. Tyler Nordgren and Dr. Jill Tarter will be followed by a live taping of Planetary Radio with Mat Kaplan. Night Sky viewing will close out the night.


Starting at 9:00 a.m. on the Furnace Creek Visitor Center lawn, an exposition will take place. This interactive, hands on event will be staffed with rangers, experts, and scientists from NASA, SETI (Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence), JPL (Jet Propulsion Laboratory), and many others.

Field Trips will run through the morning to places that serve as researching and testing sites for places like Mars;such as the Mesquite Sand Dunes, Mars Hill, and Badwater. Join scientists who have researched these places for their outstanding geology and natural extremes.

Presentations will be held at the Furnace Creek Visitor Center throughout the day. From hands on, family friendly activities, to lectures about the cosmos, there will be something for everyone.

In the evening, Dr. Chris McKay will present a highlight speech.

On Friday night we will host a night sky expo! This stargazing event will include telescopes, family friendly activities, along with scientists and rangers.

View and download the full schedule here. We also have the biographies or our speakers and presenters available here.

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