Shenandoah National Park will celebrate the upcoming total lunar eclipse with a Park "star party" on Sunday, September 27. Join Park Rangers, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory Solar System Ambassador Greg Redfern, and local amateur astronomers at Big Meadows (mile 51 on Skyline Drive) for an evening of astronomy presentations and dark-sky viewing. Learn about the lunar eclipse, discover the importance of protecting dark-night skies, and enjoy close-up views of stars and planets. The total lunar eclipse is also the evening of the harvest moon, and the closest and largest full moon for 2015.
Starting at 6:30 p.m., Redfern will present "This Isn't Your Granddaddy's Moon" in the Byrd Visitor Center auditorium (mile 51). He will discuss the moon and the total lunar eclipse. After the presentation, Rangers and volunteer astronomers will provide telescope viewing and constellation tours near the Rapidan Fire Road gate at Big Meadows. Rangers and volunteers will be on site until 11:00 p.m. At 8:00 p.m. (and continuing until 1:30 a.m.), Redfern will re-join the group in the meadow to share his "Under The Stars At Shenandoah National Park" presentation with sky lore and fascinating sky facts. Phases of the eclipse are expected to begin at 8:11 p.m. and last until 1:22 a.m. on the east coast. The total eclipse will begin at 10:11 p.m. Redfern's presentation is part of the Let's Talk about Space in Shenandoah program hosted by Delaware North at Shenandoah National Park, an authorized concessionaire of the National Park Service.
The presentation will be held regardless of weather, but night sky viewing may be cancelled depending on cloud cover. Dress for cool mountain nights and bring blankets, chairs, and flashlights. Rapidan Fire Road is a short walk from Byrd Visitor Center. Parking is available at the visitor center;the visitor center will remain open until the conclusion of Redfern's presentation. Limited accessible parking is available the Rapidan Fire Road gate. The program is free for Park visitors;regular Park entrance fees apply.You do not need to register beforehand
Many other locations in the Park are also excellent places to view the lunar eclipse, such as east-facing overlooks along Skyline Drive.
For more information about the total lunar eclipse "star party" event, contact Byrd Visitor Center at (540) 999-3500 ext. 3283. For questions about Redfern's presentation and the Let's Talk About Space in Shenandoah program, visit goshenandoah.com or call 877-247-9261.