Are you an avid stargazer or simply enjoy the tranquility and awe of looking up into the night sky? If this sounds appealing to you, you can witness Jasper National Park’s dark sky 365 days a year.

During the month of October we show our appreciation and celebrate the night sky with dark sky month. This is a great time to visit the park and take in the festivities at the Annual Jasper Dark Sky Festival in October. If you can’t make it during that time, Parks Canada still has lots of dark sky programming throughout the month (and year) that showcases this natural treasure.

Fun fact: Encompassing over 11,000 km2, Jasper National Park is the second largest dark sky preserve in the world!

So what exactly is a Dark Sky Preserve?

On March 26, 2011 the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada (RASC) officially designated Jasper National Park a Dark Sky Preserve. Dark Sky Preserves make a special commitment to protect and preserve the night sky and to reduce or eliminate light pollution in all its forms. Jasper National Park and its residents are taking extra steps, such as replacing older street lights and improving Parks Canada operations to have a minimal impact on an unimpeded night sky. We also host a number of special programs throughout the fall and winter months to highlight the importance of our Dark Sky status and to promote better awareness of how important the reduction of light pollution really is.

Top 4 Tips for Great Night Sky Viewing in Jasper

Jasper National Park's Dark Sky Preserve

1. Best locations
Pyramid Island, Maligne Lake, Old Fort Point and the toe of Athabasca Glacier are four outstanding sites within the park which are accessible year round for dark sky viewing.

2. Bring your camera
Dark Sky viewing is best when you can take it home with you. Invest in a Digital SLR, a wide angle lens with a low aperture and a tripod. There are a number of easy, excellent tutorials on the web and beginning level images are easy to take with most beginner level camera kits.

3. Check the Annual 2017 Jasper Dark Sky Festival
The Annual Jasper Dark Sky Festival in October caters to all levels of astronomy fans with everything from speakers, to workshops, to kids programs to night time star parties. Make a point of attending this event to get the full scoop on all things astro!

4. Camp under the stars
Roadside campgrounds are found in a variety of striking locations around the park - from Pocahontas in the east to Wilcox and the Icefield Campgrounds along the Icefields Parkway in the south. Take a tent or an RV and set up a cozy and crackling campfire and get immersed in Jasper’s Dark Sky by sleeping underneath the stars.

Or, for a truly immersive experience, try camping at one of Jasper’s nearly 100 backcountry campsites. Some excellent locations to experience our dark sky are Big Bend, Surprise Point in the Tonquin Valley, and Jacques Lake.

Starry Nights

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Beaver Logo fades in and out. Upbeat music

Cuts to close up of boy’s face looking at an ipad with headphones on.

Cut to wide shot of someone putting a backpack on the ground, the boy is still playing his game

Cut to mother who put the bag down signalling the boy to come along

Cut to close up of boy’s eyes from below his ipad as he looks up at his mother.

Cut to boy’s feet walking upto the bag on the ground

Cut to boy walking out of his garage

boy walks by his father putting the cooler in the car

boy opens car door

Cut to side of the boy sitting in the car as it’s moving, still playing on his ipad. Game sounds are heard.

music picks up. Cut to view of the mountain from th backseat of the car

Mother points to a mountain

Cut to a slider shot of a campsite where the mother tends to the tent and father to the campfire. The boy is sitting and playing on his ipad.

Cut to a timelapse of the town of Jasper at sunset

Cut to timelapse of Spirit Island at sunset. Wolf howl

Fade to campfire timelapse, coals burning

fade to black

Group laughing

Fade in from black, dolly a backpack lights up with notification sound

Flash light comes on in the tent.

Cut to medium shot of the tent, boy sticks his head and flashlight out of the tent and scans.

Cut to boy’s feet outside with flashlight on grass.

The flashlight clicks off.

Cut to close up of the boy hitting the flashlight with his hand.

Cut to boys face as he looks around and then looks up to the sky. Owl hooting

Cut to extreme close up of boy’s eye with a reflection of the night’s sky and a shooting star in his eyeball

Cut to timelapse of the campsite, tent is seen as well as the starry night’s sky

Cut to timelapse of Maligne Lake at night with starry sky rotating and shooting stars

Cut to timelapse of Mount Edith Cavell during a cloudy night.

Cut to timelapse close up of pine needels with stars in the shape of circles in the background.

Cut to timelapse of a mountain range, lake and night’s sky with the milky way.

Cut to timelapse of night’s sky at Lake Annette with milky way and shooting stars

Cut to timelapse of a campsite with a tent, starry night’s sky and the northern lights.

Cut to timelapse of northern lights.

Cut to timelapse of Athabasca Glacier and night sky with shooting star

Cut to timelapse close up of the moon moving across the sky and behind a cloud.

Cut to timelapse of night’s sky that transform into star trails across the sky

Cut to timelapse of star trails and shooting stars.

Cut to timelapse of the Ramparts with the night’s sky that transforms into star trails and shooting stars.

Cut to close up timelapse of a starry night’s sky which transforms into star trails and rotates.

Cut to timelapse of Spirit Island as the sun rises with a few stars left in the sky

Cut to over-the-shoulder shot of the family sitting on the couch looking at the boy’s ipad. There is a photo of Spirit Island at sunrise and stars on his timelapse

The boy swipes his fingers to change photos to a camper and his tent at night.

Cut to medium shot of the family sitting on the couch smiling.

Cut to black.

Fade from black to text that reads Jasper appearing over a timelapse of mountains and a starry sky.

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Text reads Jasper over black as National Park fades in a few letters at a time

Text swipes out with sound cue.

Cut to Parks Canada Logo

Text fades in and out (Copyright Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, represented by Parks Canada, 2014.)

Canada text with Canadian flag fades in and out