Sequoia Dark Sky Bash: Get the 2018 Dates - NBC Bay Area
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Sequoia Dark Sky Bash: Get the 2018 Dates

Over there... Can you see the Milky Way?

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    Make for the national park near the end of summer — Sept. 7 through 9 — to see the stars truly at their most observable best.

    THE DARKEST DAYS OF THE YEAR... don't usually summon summertime to mind. Rather, it is the chillier stretch we think of, when the light gets low around 4:30 or 5 and the night, by 10 p.m., can already seem to have lasted a full 12 hours. But one of the most marvelous and marvel-filled gatherings of the year has to do with a) darkness but b) it doesn't happen in the winter. Rather, it regularly occurs when we're at our warmest, and the nights are fairly short, comparatively, but the non-chilly evenings mean more time can be spent looking at the stars, the moon, the treetops, and the moodiest pockets of the cosmos above. We speak, of course, of the Dark Sky Festivals that pop up in some of our low-light-iest spots come July, August, and September, and if "low-light-iest spots" makes you think that some of the national parks are involved, you're correct. In fact...

    SEQUOIA AND KINGS CANYON NATIONAL PARKS... have long been one of the go-to spots for universe gazing, and the popular Dark Sky Festival will again return to the wonderful, wonder-filled place in 2018. The dates were just announced, in February 2018, a time of long nights, but you'll have to wait a bit: Sept. 7 through 9 will serve as the three-day window of talks, telescope-based events, and more. True, this is a little later in the summer season, but it is summer, still, and being the weekend after Labor Day, the park may be settling into a quieter hum. It's an ideal time for enjoying the sun-free sky in all of its deep glitteriness, and sharing that obsession with astronomy pros and devoted fellow sky-watchers. So while you currently weather winter's darkness, begin to anticipate a sequoia-style Dark Sky Festival, one that's over a half year away, in one of the brightest, most summery months on the calendar. But will it be oh-so-dark and lovely and starful after twilight settles in, among the big trees? Delightful shivers; it shall be. Keep an eye on the Sequoia Parks Conservancy for more information.