Exploring the Cosmos with Explore Scientific at the Arkansas Dark Sky Festival II
The Arkansas Dark Sky Festival's second event was free-to-the-public and held near the Buffalo River National Park from September 14th-16th, 2023. Explore Scientific was there to celebrate this amazing dark sky festival in Arkansas.
DarkSky International announced the designation of Buffalo National River as an International Dark Sky Park (IDSP) back in the summer of 2019. The Buffalo River National Park has some of the darkest skies in Arkansas, and is the 26th National Park Service site to receive this designation and the first in Arkansas.
Explore Scientific was there with an array of astronomical instruments to share celestial treasures with the attendees. The combination of good weather, super-dark skies, and better-than-average seeing conditions gave excellent views of the planets as well as star clusters, nebulae, and distant galaxies. Explore Scientific's Kent Marts and Explore Alliance Ambassador Greg Turner were on hand for sky interpretation, technical assistance, and to guide the eager stargazers.
The festival featured a captivating keynote address by NASA's Dr. Amber Straughn, delving into the mysteries of the universe with the James Webb Space Telescope. This insightful presentation drew a significant crowd, sparking excitement and curiosity about the celestial realm and the amazing technology and discoveries of JWST.
Organized by Bruce McMath of the Arkansas Natural Sky Association (the Arkansas Affiliate of DarkSky International), the Arkansas Dark Sky Festival II illuminated not only the night sky but also the collective passion and dedication of organizations and individuals devoted to astronomy, conservation, and community engagement. The success of the Arkansas Dark Sky Festival II was also made possible in part by various organizations and sponsors that share a passion for astronomy, conservation, and community.
As we eagerly await future editions of this remarkable event that offered educational and fun activities for the entire family, we look forward to the continued celebration of dark skies and our cosmic connection here in the Natural State.
Telescopes and Astronomy Gear Used at at the Arkansas Dark Sky Festival II:
- Unistellar Equinox 2 - Smart Telescope
- Explore Scientific - Generation II - 10-inch Truss Tube Dobsonian Telescope
- Explore Scientific - Generation II - 16-inch Truss Tube Dobsonian Telescope
- Explore Scientific 100° Series Waterproof Eyepieces
- Explore Scientific - BT-120 SF Large Binoculars
- Explore Scientific ED80-FCD100 Series Air-Spaced Triplet Refractor Telescope
- Explore Scientific ED127 Essential Series Air-Spaced Triplet Refractor Telescope
- Explore Scientific iEXOS-100-2 PMC-Eight Equatorial Tracker System
- Explore Scientific Twilight I Adjustable Angle Alt-Azimuth Mount
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