The Milky Way Is a Guest of Honor at This Sequoia-Packed Dark Sky Festival

The late-summer celebration is all about basking in the brilliant dots of celestial light above (and learning a few nifty things, too).

Bjorn Bakstad

What to Know

  • Dark Sky Festival
  • Free; Sequoia National Park
  • Saturday, Sept. 9, 2023

SHIMMER SHIMMER: If you had to pick the most shimmerful month on the calendar, well, that would be quite a challenging task. You might first gaze upon those times of the year when the evening is arriving earlier but it is still warm out. We're describing late summer, of course, also known as the month of September, a time that is full of starry glitter and the promise of glow soon to come, courtesy of Halloween jack o'lanterns and holiday lights. It's the ideal moment to turn our gaze to some of the glitteriest spots in the sky, all to learn about the stars, the cosmos, and how much a velvety, low-lit night can bring us closer to the eternal expanse. And that's just what will happen on Sept. 9, which falls on the Saturday following Labor Day 2023. That's the dazzling date for the upcoming Dark Sky Festival at Sequoia National Park, a day-into-night gathering which celebrates astronomy, the big trees, nature, wonder, and the chance to disconnect from the everyday world and plug into the universe. The Milky Way? If it is a clear night, you can count on communing with that galactic guest, and many other superstar super stars.

THE 2023 SCHEDULE... will materialize soon, but you can book your room in the area — Wuksachi Lodge is due to reopen in June — and ponder some of the engaging astronomical activities that have played a part in previous events. In 2022, a Caltech panel, a Kidz Zone, an intriguing session devoted to black holes, and a star party played roles in the festive and outdoorsy event. California is home to a number of Dark Sky Festivals, by the by, that occur at different points of the year. And if you'd like to visit an official International Dark Sky Community while adventuring around the Golden State, you can: Borrego Springs is the place to go, should you want to bask in the Anza Borrego State Desert Park and its celestial nighttime gifts.

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