Annual Dakota Nights Astronomy Festival to Be Held at Theodore Roosevelt National Park and Historic Medora

MEDORA, ND: Theodore Roosevelt National Park and the town of Historic Medora invite inquiring minds of all ages to attend the fifth annual Dakota Nights Astronomy Festival Friday, September 15 through Sunday, September 17. Join park rangers, astronomers, and space enthusiasts of all types to celebrate North Dakota’s beautiful night skies.


“People have been marveling at the night skies for millennia,” said Chief of Interpretation Eileen Andes. “Dakota Nights celebrates the beauty and fragility of this awe-inspiring resource and makes it accessible and fun for people of all ages.


You don’t have to be an astronomy expert; our festival has something for everyone.


Visitors are invited to enjoy presentations by special guest speakers at 7:00 p.m. MDT each evening at the Cottonwood Campground amphitheater. Friday evening’s speaker is astronomer, educator, and NASA Ambassador Lynn Powers, who will discuss NASA’s 12-year Cassini Mission to Saturn and its grand finale as it crashes into the ringed planet on that day.


Dr. Paul Barnhart of Dickinson State University will speak about dark night skies and their importance to bats – and to us – on Saturday evening. On Sunday evening, Dickinson State University’s Dr. Corinne Brevik will lead an exploration of the wonders of space and scientific discovery. After each evening’s presentation, astronomers will share the mysteries of the universe while star gazing in a field of more than a dozen telescopes at the historic Peaceful Valley Ranch.


Daytime activities include model rocket building and launching, a “build your own telescope” workshop, “sun gazing,” solar system hikes, family astronomy activities, and hourly presentations in Dickinson State University’s Discovery Dome.


The Dakota Nights Astronomy Festival is a partnership between Theodore Roosevelt National Park and Historic Medora. “Dakota Nights Astronomy Festival would not be possible without our partners and the many volunteers who join us in celebrating the night sky,” said Andes. Partners include Medora Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, Medora Chamber of Commerce, Theodore Roosevelt Nature and History Association, Dickinson State University, Friends of Theodore Roosevelt National Park, and Chateau De Mores State Historic Site.


All festival events are free, though park entrance fees apply.


A complete listing of all activities and an event map are available on the park’s website at Theodore Roosevelt National Park is on social media! Follow us on Twitter @TRooseveltNPS and “like” us on our Facebook page at


This press release first appeared on the Theodore Roosevelt National Park website.

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