Lonely Planet Writer

This gorgeous national park in Canada is hosting a Dark Sky Festival

Jasper National Park in the Canadian Rockies boasts turquoise lakes, soaring mountains and incredible forests, but an upcoming festival will celebrate another of its natural wonders, an expansive and star-filled night sky.

Maligne Lake at night with Maligne Mountain Range in the background, Jasper National Park, Alberta, Canada.
Jasper National Park in Canada is holding a Dark Sky Festival. Image by Andrey Popov/Getty Images

The Jasper Dark Sky Festival will run from 13 to 22 October with events that are designed to thrill stargazers. The park was declared a Dark Sky Preserve back in 2011 by the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, which means there is a commitment in place to protect the sky from light pollution.

The first weekend of the festival, called Stellar Vibes, will feature an evening of music with jazz legends Tommy Banks and PJ Perry on 13 October, and the Symphony Under the Stars on Saturday 14 October with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra. The second weekend is themed around Dark Sky Science, and will highlight space and science with presentations at the base terminal at the Jasper SkyTram. There will be talks from renowned physicist Brian Cox and the Bad Astronomer Phil Plait on some of the hottest topics in the universe on Friday, 20 October. According to the festival’s organizers: “this dynamic duo teams up to captivate, entertain and educate their audience with the title presentation: Bring Deep Space Down to Earth”.

On Saturday, 21 October, a variety of experience, including Bob McDonald, Natalie Panek, Rob Thacker and John Rennie, will present SPACEtalks: To the Moon, Mars, and Beyond: The Future of Space Exploration.

Spirit Island at Maligne Lake, Jasper, Rocky Mountain, Canada. Image by ©Krishna.Wu/Shutterstock

More information about the festival and tickets to individual events can be found here.