I’m presently in Jasper, Alberta attending the Jasper Dark Sky Festival. For those that don’t know what his festival is all about, here’s a briefing.
Jasper is located in Jasper National Park in the Canadian Rockies. What this means is that it’s dark unlike our modern cities with way too much light pollution. The Royal Astronomical Society of Canada officially designated Jasper National Park a Dark Sky Preserve in 2011 and since then a festival has been held every year to celebrate and educate around this special area.
This year Col Chris Hadfield our hugely popular Canadian astronaut is making a wildly popular appearance, a night photographer from Banff, Paul Zizka is doing workshops and numerous astronomers form the Royal Astronomical Society are giving talks as well as Cree native storyteller, Wilfred Buck. All in all great fun and a fantastic learning experience. Excellent food is served up in the evenings as well but that’s another story.
But there’s more to Jasper than dark skies and that’s what this short post is about. Jasper is a stunning area and many of us are trying to squeeze as much as possible into our festival experiences.
On Thursday we had a rare solar eclipse and the Royal Astronomical Society crew had numerous telescopes set up for our viewing pleasure. Being set up on the school grounds was a real plus as many of the children came out to view the phenomenon, something they will remember for years. The kids sure looked good with the ultra cool sunglasses on that are used for looking at the sun. The sun was ultra cool looking as the photo shows, the sun spot visible the largest in over 2 decades.
SunDog the local bus and tour company took us out today for a wildlife and scenery tour of the Maligne Lake area. We certainly were not disappointed with our cool guide Brian Nesbbit having arranged for numerous moose and elk to make appearances. Wolves and grizzlies were a no show however, maybe next time. The lighting on the drive up was fantastic and new snow from the night before added a beautiful touch to the scenes.
The Jasper Brewing Company has been serving up excellent food and of course…. beer. Actually quite good beer. Overall not a bad day in the Canadian Rockies and the sky hasn’t even darkened yet.