Be Prepared for dark sky

Daytime solar lunar astronomy tour.jpg

Gaze upon the wonder of one of the world’s largest dark sky preserves.

As daylight hours begin to recede, October is the ideal time to celebrate the skies with the annual Jasper Dark Sky Festival, an ever-growing festival aimed at connecting all ages to our universe and beyond.

Build Your Schedule

There are a variety of fun events throughout October, some paid and some free. Check out the full schedule online at or pick up the event guide at the Jasper Visitor's Centre (500 Connaught Drive).

Download Stargazing Apps

Learn how to identify the constellations and planets you’ll be seeing and impress your friends! Take a look at our list of must have apps below!


A regular iPhone photo won’t cut it! Learn more with our night sky photography tips listed in this guide.

Dress in warm layers

October in Jasper can be a little chilly. Don't forget mitts, scarves and toques—just in case.



MUST-HAVE Stargazing Apps

Pocket Universe | iOS | $3.99

Gives you observation tips and quizzes to test your knowledge about what you have seen.

  • Good for beginners (learning tool)
  • Point phone into sky to identify planets and stars near you
  • Suggests objects to observe based on the date

Photopills | iOS & Android | $13.99

An amazing all in one photo app that helps you first plan as well as capture night sky photography through your iPhone

  • Helps you capture star trails
  • Captures photos using long exposure calculators, timelapse and many other features
  • Uses virtual reality to plan where the milky way is going to be.

SkyView | iOS & Android | Free

FREE app that uses the back camera to give you information like the paths of object in the sky and names of the celestial bodies

  • Search for and locate specific stars or space stations
  • Share to social media (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram)

Luminos | iOS | $34.99

Provides 3D view of planets, moons, over 2.5M stars and thousands of other objects.

  • View and re-created eclipses for thousands of years into the past and future
  • Travel through time, travel to craters on the moon, travel through the rings of Saturn
  • Point your phone to sky to identify planets and stars near you

Star Chart | iOS & Android | Free

FREE app that uses your phone’s compass to locate planets and stars near you

  • You can set location to see the stars on the other side of the planet in real time
  • Time shifter to see what the sky will look like 10,000 years in the future

Dark Sky Photography Tips

Tools (for simplest night sky capturing capabilities)

  • Tripod (for camera/smartphone stability during long exposures)
  • Fullframe camera (for better ISO capabilities)
  • Fisheye or wide angle lense (widest view of the sky)
  • Intervalometer (when aiming to shoot startrails with long exposures)
  • An Extra Battery (long exposures may use more battery than you’re used to)

Smartphone Tips

  • Photopills ($13.99) is an amazing all in one app for the iPhone which includes sun and moon planning, star trails, long exposure calculators, timelapse and virtual reality to help plan where the Milky Way is going to be.
  • To effect shutter speed, get the iPhone app Slow Shutter Cam ($2.79). For Android, try Camera FV5 Lite (Free)
  • Avoid using a flash at all times, and the HDR setting tends to slow down the speed of your camera, ultimately diminishing the performance
  • Avoid your digital zoom as tempting as it may be, the zoom with compromise the quality of the photo

General Tips

  • Get far away from the city to avoid “light pollution” (at least 50 miles from a big city for the cleanest looking sky)
  • Always aim to shoot on nights of a new moon phase. Capturing photos during anything larger than a half moon phase can become very difficult, making the sky look like daytime
  • During summertime (JuneOctober) the milky way’s position is particularly vibrant and easy to capture
  • When editing your photos, try playing around with the exposure, temperature and hue to create some very unique scenes
  • Dress for the weather, capturing photographs at night is not an activity that keeps you warm and moving.
  • Use headlamps or a small lantern to light your foreground objects


  • Exposure should sit around 15-25 sec, longer than 30 sec can start to show very small star trails
  • Set white balance to tungsten or fluorescent (auto balance tends to create an orange night sky)
  • Shoot your photographs in raw format to preserve editing capabilities.

DSLR Camera Settings To Start With (NO MOON)

  • 25 second exposure f/2.8 ISO 1600
  • 30 second exposure f/4 ISO 1600 (for lens that doesn’t open to f/2.8)
  • 30 second exposure f/2.8 ISO 3200 (for cameras that support higher ISO)


Sign Up for a 2-day Workshop ($349/person)
Friday, October 21 and Saturday, October 22



Jasper Star Chart




At 11,00 square kilometers, Jasper is considered to be one of the world's largest Dark Sky Preserves.


If you could travel to the nearest star in a car at 100km an hour, it would take 356,908,917,036 years!


The first man-made object sent into space was the Russian satellite named Sputnik in 1957.



About Jasper

Welcome to your base of adventure. From here, depart the curious and free spirited. The restless of mind and body. The explorers and wanderers whose destination awaits one adventure beyond. Your destination? The largest National Park in the Canadian Rockies – an 11,000 square kilometre swath of untamed wilderness. A designated Dark Sky Preserve and part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Jasper National Park welcomes all those prepared to venture beyond.