7th Annual Badlands Astronomy Festival

to Be Held July 6th-8th, 2018Entrance

Badlands National Park News Release
For Immediate Release
Release Date: June 20, 2018
Contact: Aaron Kaye, 605‐433‐5243


BADLANDS NATIONAL PARK, INTERIOR, S.D. — Badlands National Park has partnered with the NASA South Dakota Space Grant Consortium to co-sponsor the 2018 Badlands Astronomy Festival, July 6th-8th. The festival brings together space science professionals, amateur astronomers, educators, and visitors for a three day celebration.


Novices and experts alike will enjoy the spectacular dark night skies of Badlands National Park at public star parties each evening. During the day, a variety of family-friendly events will provide opportunities for visitors to learn about the night sky, the sun, and space exploration. Additional telescopes will be provided by astronomers from the Black Hills Astronomical Society, Celestron, and Dark Ranger Telescope Tours for day and night observations.


The schedule of events includes nightly special guest speakers, public stargazing activities, solar observing opportunities, planetarium shows, static displays, as well as equipment demonstrations by professional and amateur astronomers. Badlands Natural History Association (BNHA) will offer night sky-themed merchandise which will be available for sale in the bookstore at the Ben Reifel Visitor Center.


This event is made possible through funding and support from the Badlands Natural History Association, Celestron, NASA South Dakota Space Grant Consortium, Dark Ranger Telescope Tours, town of Interior, Black Hills Astronomical Society, South Dakota Discovery Center, Cedar Pass Lodge, and Badlands National Park.


Schedule of Events:


InteriorSchoolSDPlanetarium Shows
Saturday, July 7; and Sunday, July 8
9:00 am – 2:00 pm at the Interior School Gym,
2 miles south of The Ben Reifel Visitor Center
The South Dakota Discovery Center will present planetarium shows using their portable planetarium.


Sun Fun Solar ObservingBenReifelVisitorCenter
Friday, July 6; Saturday, July 7; and Sunday, July 8
3:00-5:00 pm at the Ben Reifel Visitor Center
View solar flares and sunspots through our special solar telescopes, 100% safe for eyes. Various other sun based activities will also be offered during this particular event.


amphitheaterParkingEvening Programs/Public Stargazing
Friday, July 6; Saturday, July 7; and Sunday, July 8
7:30 Fri/9pm Sat and Sun – 11:30 pm at
the Cedar Pass Campground Amphitheater
Nightly evening presentations will be provided by invited guest speakers followed by hands-on experience with multiple state-of-the-art telescopes and amateur astronomers providing constellation tours while guiding visitors around the universe. View planets, star clusters, nebulae, and double stars while going down the “scope line.”

  • 7:30pm Friday guest speaker: Black Hills Raptor Center
  • 9pm Saturday guest speaker: Paul Ricketts, University of Utah Dept. Of Physics & Astronomy
  • 9pm Sunday guest speaker: “Dark Ranger” Kevin Poe, Dark Ranger Telescope Tours

Links for additional information:
Night Sky Program at Badlands National Park
South Dakota Space Grant Consortium

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