“Night at the Museum” Independence-style


"Night at the Museum" at the Eastern California Museum minus Ben Stiller but plus the mystery of the dark night skies.

Less theatrical than the movie of the same name, the Saturday program, Night at the Museum, promises expert guidance to the fascination of the night sky in the Eastern Sierra

A man who has spent decades shedding light on the wonder of a dark, night sky will lead the Eastern California Museum program, “Night at the Museum,” Starting at 9 p.m. on Saturday, June 16, on the Museum grounds in Independence.

Dan Duriscoe will share his extensive experience, expertise and even his homemade telescope with members of the public interested in seeing what’s up in the night sky and learning how to protect the area’s outstanding dark, starry night skies.

Duriscoe has lived in the Sierra Nevada for the past 32 years, working for the National Park Service. The past 10 years his work has been devoted to protecting and helping to interpret the night sky for the enjoyment of present and future generations. He is the technical leader of the Night Skies Division for the NPS Natural Resources Stewardship and Science Directorate, with an office in Bishop. Duriscoe provides technical assistance to all 397 units of the National Park Service System, helping them communicate the value of the night sky while also protecting the night sky “resource” in the parks through better outdoor lighting, interpretive products and programs, and scientific information.

On Saturday’s “Night at the Museum,” Duriscoe will first focus on the importance and value of dark night skies and then give attendees a chance to look up and see what a wonderful and valuable resource a dark sky full of stars can be. The event will begin with a presentation about Protecting Dark Night Skies. Then people can look into the deep and dark sky and spot the brilliance and beauty it contains.  Four different telescopes will be available for viewing the heavens, including Duriscoe’s homemade binocular Newtonian.

The true star of the evening, of course, will be “the real universe” as seen with your own eyes.    The public is invited to the free event, and is asked to meet in the parking lot on the north end of the Museum building just before 9 p.m. (it’s got to be dark to see the stars), and bring a chair, a flashlight and curiosity. The Museum is located at 155 N. Grant St., Independence. For more information, call 760-878-0258.

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