The Jasper Dark Sky Festival is returning to the mountains, and our telescopes are locked and loaded. For the eleventh year in a row, legions of amateur astronomers and space pros will flock to the northern Rockies for a celestial line-up of speakers, events, activities and independent exploration.
Jasper National Park is the largest accessible dark sky preserve in the world, meaning there’s no better spot to see and learn about the stars. Here’s a bit of what to expect at this year’s festival. More events are being added every day, so stay tuned!
When: Oct.17, 12:00pm-2:00pm
A lighter and brighter version of the fan favourite Symphony under the Stars (which, for the record, will also be happening) is coming this year. Get ready for everything you love about the original event (fancy drinks, soaring music, stunning location beside Lac Beauvert at the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge) with the extra perk of an earlier bedtime.
When: Oct.23, 11:00am – 2:00pm
Tom Vassos has devoted thousands of hours researching his lifelong passions – astronomy, cosmology and space exploration. He is the founder of Cosmologists Without Borders and was in the technology industry for 35 years. This skilled science communicator will bring his sense of humor and enthusiasm for space to his talk.
When: Oct. 23, 3:00pm – 5:00pm
What does the future of humanity and the space program have in common? Well for a few billionaire visionaries, an awful lot. Elon Musk, SpaceX CEO and Jeff Bezos, Amazon CEO and owner of Blue Origin, both believe that the future of humanity lies off of this planet. Join Rob Meyerson – CEO of Delalune Space, thought-leader and former President of Blue Origin – and Adam Steltzner, Spacecraft designer, author, innovator, and Chief Engineer of NASA’s Mars 2020 Perseverance Mission for a discussion of these big questions!
When: Oct. 24, 8:00am – 10:00am
Astronomy has been practiced on the land we call North America since time immemorial and the peoples across this land had and have their own ways of understanding the sky and the Universe. In this talk, Prof. Hilding Neilson will discuss Indigenous methods of science and how sky stories reflect observations and knowledge of different peoples. He will show how these methods are related to constructing knowledge and apply these axioms to the current questions of where life is in the Milky Way Galaxy.
When: Oct. 15, 6:00pm – 11:00pm
Illuminate the night with local, professional photographer — and light painter — Mike Gere. Overlooking Jasper’s iconic Pyramid Lake, The Pines’ Light the Night showcases Canadian Rockies cuisine, cocktails and light painting photography. Experience will include four food stations, two cocktails, round-trip transfers from downtown with Open Top Touring, and your very own light painting photo.
When: Daily Flights from 5:00pm
Get closer to the stars with this annual favourite of the festival. This is the only time of year when you can ride the SkyTram up Whistlers Mountain after dark and see the panorama of the Athabasca Valley lit up by the moon. Star sessions include dinner and interactive experience with the experts from the Jasper Planetarium
When: Oct.21 7:00pm – 10:00pm
Gourmet food and stunning views, with a side of backcountry cooking techniques and starlit explanations! This event was brought in for the first time last year (it’s a twist on the highly-rated local Food Tour experience) and it was such a hit that we’re bringing it back!
When: Oct. 22 – Oct.23
Deal seekers and merch collectors rejoice! This special shopping event features great promotional offers at many local Jasper retailers. Whether you’re on the hunt for early holiday presents, need some new outdoor gear, or want to commemorate your Dark Sky Festival with a souvenir, Jasper’s got you covered.
When: Oct. 23, 11:00am – 12:30pm
Longstanding speakers and renowned astrophotographers, Jack Fusco and Jeff Bartlett will return again to present some of their latest gorgeous shots of the stars and the stories behind them.
When: Oct.15, 16, 17, 22, 23, Hourly 7:00pm – 10:00pm
Join Warrior Women’s Matricia Bauer for an enchanting evening of storytelling, drumming and singing.
When: October 1 – 24, multiple times daily
For a dose of dark sky year-round, The Jasper Planetarium is the place to go. They have a full suite of experiences available, from telescope experiences to Planetarium shows, to a fully audience-led tour through the universe!