This Weekend, Joshua​ ​Tree​ ​National​ ​Park​ ​Hosts the Night​ ​Sky​ ​Festival​

By Minah Ha

From​ ​November​ ​10th-12th,​ ​Joshua​ ​Tree​ ​National​ ​Park​ ​will​ ​be​ ​partnering​ ​with​ ​the National​ ​Park​ ​Service​ ​in​ ​order​ ​to​ ​bring​ ​star​ ​enthusiasts​ ​the​ ​Night​ ​Sky​ ​Festival.​ ​This​ ​is​ ​the​ ​third annual​ ​Night​ ​Sky​ ​Festival​ ​that​ ​the​ ​park​ ​has​ ​hosted​ ​for​ ​those​ ​who​ ​want​ ​to​ ​sit​ ​under​ ​a​ ​sky​ ​full​ ​of stars.Although​ ​this​ ​event​ ​is​ ​free​ ​of​ ​charge,​ ​if​ ​you​ ​decide​ ​to​ ​come​ ​on​ ​November​ ​10th,​ ​you​ ​will have​ ​to​ ​pay​ ​a​ ​park​ ​entrance​ ​fee​ ​of​ ​$30.​ ​However,​ ​because​ ​of​ ​Veteran’s​ ​Day​ ​weekend,​ ​there​ ​will be​ ​no​ ​park​ ​entrance​ ​fee​ ​on​ ​November​ ​11th​ ​and​ ​12th! Joshua​ ​Tree​ ​National​ ​Park,​ ​located​ ​three​ ​hours​ ​away​ ​from​ ​Los​ ​Angeles​​ ​is​ ​known​ ​for​ ​its​ ​unique​ ​Joshua​ ​trees​ ​and​ ​desert​ ​flowers​ ​in​ ​the​ ​day​ ​to​ ​it’s​ ​breathtaking​ ​desert stars​ ​in​ ​the​ ​night.​ ​Because​ ​the​ ​park​ ​itself​ ​is​ ​located​ ​far​ ​from​ ​big​ ​cities,​ ​the​ ​lack​ ​of​ ​urban​ ​lights allows​ ​stars​ ​to​ ​be​ ​clearly​ ​seen.​ ​Thus,​ ​star​ ​enthusiasts​ ​in​ ​Southern​ ​California​ ​flock​ ​to​ ​Joshua​ ​Tree to​ ​stargaze​ ​and​ ​explore​ ​the​ ​many​ ​constellations​ ​that​ ​they​ ​can’t​ ​see​ ​in​ ​their​ ​own​ ​urban environments​ ​due​ ​to​ ​light​ ​pollution.​ ​Many​ ​describe​ ​the​ ​desert​ ​stars​ ​in​ ​Joshua​ ​Tree​ ​as​ ​millions​ ​of specks​ ​in​ ​the​ ​sky​ ​and​ ​when​ ​sitting​ ​under​ ​it,​ ​you​ ​can’t​ ​help​ ​but​ ​to​ ​think​ ​about​ ​the​ ​vastness​ ​of​ ​the universe.

Beginning​ ​at​ ​5am,​ ​the​ ​Night​ ​Sky​ ​Festival​ ​will​ ​showcase​ ​various​ ​astronomy​ ​programs throughout​ ​the​ ​day.​ ​You​ ​can​ ​learn​ ​about​ ​the​ ​different​ ​constellational​ ​stories​ ​and​ ​folktales​ ​that have​ ​been​ ​passed​ ​down​ ​through​ ​storytellers​ ​and​ ​identify​ ​those​ ​stars​ ​in​ ​the​ ​sky.​ ​There​ ​will​ ​be​ ​park rangers,​ ​scientists,​ ​and​ ​astronomers​ ​explaining​ ​the​ ​various​ ​workings​ ​of​ ​our​ ​solar​ ​system​ ​to​ ​all those​ ​who​ ​want​ ​to​ ​learn​ ​about​ ​the ​science​ ​behind​ ​our​ ​stars​ ​as​ ​well!​ ​Additionally,​ ​at​ ​night, telescopes​ ​will​ ​be​ ​placed​ ​for​ ​viewers​ ​to​ ​get​ ​a​ ​clearer​ ​look​ ​at​ ​the​ ​stars​ ​and​ ​possibly​ ​the​ ​different planets!​ ​If​ ​the​ ​weather​ ​permits,​ ​you​ ​also​ ​might​ ​be​ ​able​ ​to​ ​get​ ​to​ ​clearly​ ​see​ ​the​ ​Milky​ ​Way​ ​as well!

If​ ​you​ ​do​ ​decide​ ​to​ ​go​ ​to​ ​the​ ​Night​ ​Sky​ ​Festival,​ ​coming​ ​prepared​ ​for stargazing​ ​will​ ​work​ ​to​ ​your​ ​advantage.​ ​Bringing​ ​food​ ​and​ ​water​ ​is​ ​advised​ ​because​ ​the​ ​park itself​ ​won’t​ ​have​ ​much​ ​food​ ​or​ ​water​ ​availability​ ​so​ ​it’s​ ​best​ ​if​ ​you​ ​come​ ​prepared​ ​with​ ​enough food​ ​for​ ​everyone​ ​in​ ​your​ ​group.​ ​Once​ ​it​ ​starts​ ​to​ ​become​ ​dark,​ ​minimizing​ ​your​ ​exposure​ ​to white​ ​light​ ​by​ ​turning​ ​off​ ​your​ ​phones​ ​or​ ​flashlights​ ​about​ ​20​ ​minutes​ ​before​ ​you​ ​stargaze​ ​is advised​ ​because​ ​it​ ​takes​ ​a​ ​while​ ​for​ ​human​ ​eyes​ ​to​ ​adjust​ ​to​ ​the​ ​very​ ​low​ ​light​ ​conditions​ ​of​ ​the desert​ ​sky.​ ​But,​ ​using​ ​your​ ​flashlight​ ​to​ ​guide​ ​the​ ​way​ ​is​ ​also​ ​important​ ​for​ ​your​ ​safety​ ​because there​ ​are​ ​lots​ ​of​ ​rocks​ ​and​ ​cacti​ that ​can​ ​cause​ ​injuries​ ​if​ ​you​ ​trip​ ​over​ ​them.​ ​In​ ​order​ ​to​ ​use​ ​a flashlight​ ​and​ ​maximize​ ​your​ ​stargazing​ ​experience,​ ​bring​ ​a​ ​red​ ​cloth​ ​or​ ​red​ ​paper​ ​to​ ​cover​ ​the flashlight​ ​in​ ​order​ ​to​ ​create​ ​red​ ​light.​ ​Deserts​ ​also​ ​tend​ ​to​ ​have​ ​significant​ ​drops​ ​in​ ​temperature after​ ​sunset​ ​so​ ​it’s​ ​good​ ​to​ ​layer​ ​up​ ​so​ ​that​ ​you​ ​won’t​ ​be​ ​freezing​ ​while​ ​trying​ ​to​ ​enjoy​ ​the​ ​nightsky!​ ​Coming​ ​prepared​ ​is​ ​a​ ​great​ ​way​ ​to​ ​enjoy​ ​Night​ ​Sky​ ​Festival​ ​and​ ​going​ ​with​ ​your​ ​friends​ ​is​ ​a great​ ​way​ ​to​ ​make​ ​ ​memories​ ​with​ ​the​ ​people​ ​you​ ​love​ ​under​ ​the​ ​desert​ ​sky!

Featured image from Wikimedia Commons

Minah is currently a junior majoring in Global Health and working towards obtaining a MPH/J.D. dual degree. She is from the San Fernando Valley and loves to camp, hike, and read random Wikipedia facts. She speaks Korean and is learning how to speak Spanish.