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NICK STROBEL: Dark Sky Festival is coming

The Dark Sky Festival is set for Sept. 24 at Sequoia and Kings National Parks. Events start at 10 a.m., including a keynote presentation by Kate Gunderson, a mechanical and aerospace engineer now in training to be an astronaut.

At night, star parties will be held in two locations: The Kern Astronomical Society will host the more popular one at the Wuksachi Lodge back parking lot and another group will host a smaller one at the Grant Grove Visitor Center. Both will take place from 9 to 11 p.m.

Contributing columnist Nick Strobel is director of the William M. Thomas Planetarium at Bakersfield College and author of the award-winning website