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Northern Lights & Dark Skies

Imagine looking up and seeing a wisp of neon green uncurl slowly across the Canadian night sky. The apparition is soon joined by others and together they grow into a bright, pulsating chorus of multi-colored light, waving, melting away and then forming anew. The aurora borealis is one of the most surreal natural phenomena on earth. Optimal viewing is September through mid-May in northern Alberta and in dark skies around the province. Lucky us – we have the world's two largest dark-sky preserves: Wood Buffalo and Jasper national parks.
Hoodoos and Northern Lights near Drumheller
Hoodoos and Northern Lights near Drumheller
Dark sky in Jasper National Park
Dark sky in Jasper National Park

Far from the lights of the city, see the star systems wheel freely and maybe catch a glimpse of the blazing colors in the sky from all around the province.

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Northern Light & Dark Sky Preserve Options

Jasper Planetarium

Jasper, Alberta
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Enter our state-of-the-art 35-seat domed theatre and tour the world’s largest accessible dark sky preserve with a live guide – rain-or-shine! PLUS outside, try our “Wild Nights” stargazing experience and get the chance to look through the largest telescope in the Canadian Rocky Mountains.We offer daily evening programs, special monthly programs and of course a great array of unique programs related to our Jasper Dark Sky Festival in October.

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Beaver Hills Dark Sky Preserve

Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta

This 300 sq km (116 sq mi) dark sky preserve, just east of Edmonton, encompasses Elk Island National Park and neighboring Cooking Lake-Blackfoot Provincial Recreation Area. By reducing artificial light, the preserve increases the visibility of the night sky. Whether you stargaze around the campfire or attend the preserve's annual Star Party in September, you'll find that the night sky shines brighter in Beaver Hills.

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Cypress Hills Provincial Park Dark Sky Preserve

Elkwater, Alberta

Due to its high elevation and lack of urban light pollution, Cypress Hills was the first designated Dark Sky Preserve in Alberta. Every August the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada holds a Summer Star Party that's considered to be one of the largest stargazing events in the country. The park also offers a variety of camping options, so cozy up by the campfire and gaze in wonder at the starlit sky. If the conditions are right, you may even see the Northern Lights.

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Travel Offers

Wild Frontier Self-Drive

Explore your wild side! Package includes: 2 cozy sleeps at Astoria Hotel for 2 people, wine or beer upon arrival, thrilling whitewater rafting, enjoy stunning vistas while horseback riding and explore planets and galaxies at Jasper Planetarium while stargazing.

Expires 2016-10-10
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Out in the Wild - U-Drive

Escape to the dark sky preserve of Jasper for 2 tranquil nights. Wine or beer is chilled for your arrival. Experience Jasper's one-of-a kind Planetarium to stargaze your night away. Wake up to a fresh new day with a guided tour seeking out all of the park’s most iconic wildlife.

Expires 2016-10-10
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Tours

Seppala Siberian Tours

Kitscoty, Alberta

Seppala Siberian Tours is dedicated to giving customers a great quality touring experience without injuring dogs and entertaining kennel visits and presentations that you will never forget.

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SunDog Tour Co.

Jasper, Alberta
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Providing memorable sightseeing, activity and transportation services. From daily sightseeing excursions, to group tours, to airport shuttles, to coach touring and conference services, our staff of holiday planners specialize in making your time in the mountains unforgettable.

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Bluesky Outfitting

McLennan, Alberta

Our hunting area in McLennan Alberta is indisputably one of the premier waterfowl hunting areas in North America! McLennan The Bird Capital of Canada is located on Kimiwan Lake. Recorded counts in excess of 26 000 migratory birds per day use Kimiwan Lake during migratory season. We are committed to managing our number of waterfowl hunters to ensure that hunters will have excellent duck and goose hunting throughout their stay. We are committed to a policy of 100% fair chase and stress principles and ethics above all else. Blue Sky Outfitting 1-780-324-2080

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Events

Equinox

Bon Accord, Alberta
2016-09-24 to 2016-09-25

The 5th annual Equinox celebrates our rural Alberta night time sky. Join us along with Astronaut Chris Hadfield to celebrate our first full year of being Canada's first International Dark Sky Community. This family event will provide you with musical entertainment, great food, and the art and culture story telling of our night sky through the ages. The evening ends with a spectacular fireworks display and is just a 20 minute short drive north of Edmonton in Bon Accord.

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Star Party

Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta
2016-09-03 to 2016-09-04

The Beaver Hills Dark Sky Preserve's 11th annual Star Party will be bigger and better than ever before. Taking place over two days at two different locations, Saturday at Miquelon Lake Provincial Park and Sunday at Elk Island National Park the the Beaver Hills Star Party will feature volunteer astronomers to help show you the stars with both solar and night sky viewing. Guest speakers, presenters, displays and activities will keep the whole family entertained for this 2 day celebration.

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Dark Sky Campfires

Edmonton, Alberta
2016-09-10 to 2016-09-10

Leave behind the city lights and visit Elk Island for an evening of night sky splendour! Located in the Beaver Hills Dark Sky Preserve, Elk Island is the perfect place to gaze up in wonder at the stars. Join a Parks Canada interpreter around a campfire for an evening of storytelling as you savour a hot drink and the mystery of the prairie landscape at dusk. Search for stars or the Northern Lights while taking in the grandeur of the stretching universe. Discover all that you can see and do under dark skies! $19.16/person. Call to reserve your spot today!

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