A Night Sky Festival at Joshua Tree


Photo

The night sky at Joshua Tree National Park.

When night falls, the sky above Joshua Tree National Park in California reveals countless twinkling stars. Increasingly, light pollution from surrounding towns and cities dulls the display. To call attention to the issue, and to kick off next year’s National Park Service centennial, the first Joshua Tree National Park Night Sky Festival will be held from Oct. 16 to 18.

Following the lead of similar festivals at national parks across the country, the Joshua Tree event will include nighttime telescope and daytime solar scope viewings, ranger-led wildlife hikes and a panel discussion on women in science. Tyler Nordgren, a visual artist and professor of physics and astronomy at University of Redlands, will give a talk on the night sky, a significant yet misunderstood portion of the national parks landscape.

“The Milky Way, stretching from horizon to horizon, was something that every generation of human beings used to be able to see,” Mr. Nordgren said.

Now, most Southern California residents must travel to national parks to catch a glimpse. But future night sky visibility hinges on a commitment to curbing well-lit lifestyles. Artificial glare from the Coachella Valley, Los Angeles and Las Vegas has already affected Milky Way visibility within Joshua Tree National Park, according to an ongoing study by the NOAA National Geophysical Data Center and Earth Observation Group. Light pollution is reversible, however, and the National Park Service has listed dark sky protection as one of its second-century goals.

In the meantime, Mr. Nordgren brings his students to the darkest, easternmost edge of Joshua Tree National Park near Cottonwood Spring to get the best nighttime views — and photographs, which he considers crucial to conservation, just as Ansel Adams’s iconic images of Half Dome in Yosemite and Kings Canyon helped promote national parks conservation in the 1940s.

While the festival includes a two-day night sky photography workshop, the practice can be approached simply. Rebecca Reeve, a British photographer based in Brooklyn, will be artist-in-residence at Joshua Tree National Park next spring. Working in similarly vast, vulnerable environments, such as the Florida Everglades, led to her current strategy: being quiet and still, and allowing the rhythm of a landscape to reveal itself as she shoots, rather than trying to capture magnitude.

“We’ve all been children looking up at the night sky, hoping to see a shooting star,” Ms. Reeve said. “That excitement is really what being in the landscape is about.”



Source link

About admin

Check Also

Navigating Sometimes Chaotic, Always Fascinating Addis Ababa

My circus stay was problem-free. The representatives of Fekat I met were incredibly helpful throughout ...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *