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Death Valley: An Astronomical Experience

Admire the sky alongside astronomers in the famously low-lit expanse.

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    Furnace Creek Resort
    Make for Furnace Creek Resort on Feb. 5 and 6 for a nighttime star party.

    DEEP INTO THE UNIVERSE: If only the Crab Nebula and the various moons of Pluto knew how often they showed up on various social media feeds, they might get pretty big heads. The sun, too, makes its Facebook cameos, but more often as a background player, in a pretty vacation destination. As for the moon? Our lunar satellite probably deserves its own Instagram by now, thanks to all of the full moon pics that regularly pop up. But communing with the cosmic superstars above us -- and all around us, yes -- isn't solely about clicking "Like" when we see a stunning new photograph of some faraway galaxy pop up on our feed. The glittering jewels of the night sky are so amazing that we need to stop the scrolling, once and awhile, and just spend some quality time in a very low-lit spot. Finding that very low-list spot, however, can be very hard when one calls a megalopolis home, but thank goodness a certain national park is only a few hours drive from several of California's bigger cities (and Las Vegas, too). Death Valley has the night sky chops -- it even nabbed a "Gold Tier" Dark Sky Park Certification -- and fans gather frequently to stare up after our nearest star goes down. But every so often a full-on Star Party comes along, complete with astronomers on site, and another one is due. When? Be at Furnace Creek Resort on...

    FRIDAY, FEB. 5 AND SATURDAY, FEB. 6: Astronomer John Heller, and other members of the Las Vegas Astronomical Society as well as star pros from further afield, will be on hand to talk about all of that epic twinkle, the very twinkle that can get lost in the smudge-y flood of artificial illumination (Mr. Heller refers to such places as "light domes"). Mr. Heller also says that "(t)he winter Milky Way can be an amazing sight in Death Valley" (as if any devoted stargazer would need to hear more). But here's the more you probably should here: You can book your spot at the Ranch at Furnace Creek or the Inn at Furnace Creek, which are both on the close side to the golf course where the Star Party is happening. Does this jazz you? Are you a tad weary of only seeing the magic of the universe on your daily social media scroll? Death Valley is as lunar as spots on earth come, and pretty darn dark. This is your moment to make good with the Milky Way alongside other aficionados of all things universe.