If you’re on the lookout for an incredible date idea, an awesome activity for your family, or a road-trip-worthy destination right here in Alberta, look no further. The Jasper Planetarium is located at the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge. It is the world’s largest easily accessible dark sky preserve, and it’s home to a planetarium, making Jasper one of the smallest towns in North America with its own planetarium. This unique and completely stunning destination is bucket-worthy for many reasons, but one of the best parts is that you can tailor the experience to suit your desires. You can choose from the Telescope and Planetarium Combo, Planetarium Experience Only, or the Telescope Experience Only.
The Planetarium Experience
Step into the 34-seat domed theatre of the Jasper Planetarium for an enchanting odyssey through time and space. Led by knowledgeable astronomy guides, the experience begins with tales of local Canadian Indigenous constellations. The theatre is illuminated by mesmerizing views of the recent Northern Lights from Jasper, creating a celestial dance above the Rockies.
Embark on a virtual rocket journey, orbiting high above the majestic landscapes of Jasper, and then venture to the very edge of the universe. This immersive 35-40 minute experience is more than just stargazing; it's an exploration of cosmic storytelling, leaving ample time for an engaging Q&A session with the guide. Please note, the Planetarium Experience unfolds indoors, providing a comfortable and captivating setting for your celestial adventure.
The Telescope Experience
As you step out into the crisp mountain air, your celestial adventure continues with the Telescope Experience. Here, under the vast canopy of the Rockies, peer through the largest and most powerful telescopes in the Rockies. The experience extends beyond mere observation, offering hands-on activities that allow you to delve into the intricacies of an aurora's anatomy. Feel the weight of meteorites in your hands, bringing a tangible connection to the cosmos. Witness the magic of the night sky through live guided views, enhanced by 4K instant replays displayed on-site.
Weather permitting, be captivated by the Northern Lights, one of the most captivating phenomena that dance across the Jasper skies. The tour guides, equipped with their extensive knowledge of the aurora borealis, offer insights into the science behind this mesmerizing display of lights. As the charged particles from the sun interact with the Earth's magnetic field, the night comes alive with vibrant hues of green, pink, and purple. This celestial ballet is not only observed through the telescope but is also explained in real time, creating a deeper appreciation for the natural wonder.
Additionally, you'll have the opportunity to learn the art of photographing the Northern Lights and the Milky Way with your camera. This tour lasts approximately 45-60 minutes, providing an intimate connection with the vastness of space.
Why it Deserves a Spot on Your Bucket List
The Jasper Planetarium isn't just an observation point; it's a convergence of science, culture, and nature, offering a celestial experience that transcends the ordinary. Immerse yourself in a full evening of cosmic discovery, where stories of Indigenous constellations and live views of the Northern Lights intertwine seamlessly with hands-on encounters with meteorites. The allure of the planetarium extends beyond its status as the world's largest accessible dark sky preserve; it's a testament to the magic of the cosmos.
As the evening unfolds, whether you're captivated by the vivid hues of an aurora inside the immersive Planetarium or peering through the lens of a powerful telescope under the starry night sky, each moment adds a layer to the tapestry of your cosmic adventure. The Jasper Planetarium, set against the pristine dark skies of Jasper, is not just an astronomical destination; it's an invitation to witness the universe unfold before your eyes, creating memories that linger in the vast expanse of your imagination.
Britanny Burr is a freelance writer and a contributor to Great West Media. This story was written for the 2023/24 Cool Winter Guide advertising feature. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of the editorial staff.