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Ready for the total solar eclipse? Get a preview at astronomy festival

Learn more about NASA's call for citizen eclipse scientists

On Aug. 21, the U.S. will experience a historic solar eclipse, which will leave 14 states in night-like darkness for two minutes. NASA is asking for the help of those watching the eclipse in collecting environmental data during the eclipse.
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On Aug. 21, the U.S. will experience a historic solar eclipse, which will leave 14 states in night-like darkness for two minutes. NASA is asking for the help of those watching the eclipse in collecting environmental data during the eclipse.

When the sun sets over Lassen Volcanic National Park, the day’s adventure is only about to begin.

Lassen’s Dark Sky Festival treats hikers and nature enthusiasts to a weekend of stargazing and telescope viewing. Running from Aug. 11-13, the festival features park rangers and astronomers teaching guests about the Milky Way and other celestial bodies.

Those afraid of the dark, fear not – there will be plenty of daytime festival activities, including screenings of “The Dark City,” a film about light pollution, and solar scope viewings, which allow guests to get an up-close look at the sun.

NASA researchers also will be giving several talks throughout the weekend about new and ongoing space work, such as how studying life at Lassen’s hot springs can help us learn more about life on other planets.

The vehicle entrance fee for the park is $20, and events run from 9:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. For more information, visit nps.gov/lavo/planyourvisit/dark-sky.htm.

International Musical Saw Festival

What: To hear cutting-edge music, head to the International Musical Saw Festival for a weekend of performances by saw players and other acoustic musicians. A musical saw workshop will also teach people how to play the saw.

Where: Roaring Camp Railroads, 5401 Graham Hill Road, Felton

When: 2 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 12, to 5 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 13

Cost: Free

Information: sawplayers.org/festinfo.html

Floating Lantern Ceremony

What: The ancient Buddhist Toro Nagashi ceremony is said to help guide the souls of ancestors back to the afterlife after reuniting with family to participate in the summer Obon festival. Guests will place lanterns into the water and watch the glowing lanterns float away.

Where: Woodward Park lake, North Friant Road and East Audubon Drive, Fresno

When: 7-9 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 12

Cost: $25 before Aug. 4, $30 at the door

Information: shinzenjapanesegarden.org/toro-nagashi.html

Surf ‘n’ Suds Beer Festival

What: Attendees can hit the beach for a day of surfing fun, then cool off with their pick of drinks from more than 70 craft breweries, wineries and cider makers. Mega-sized beer pong, cornhole and food trucks will also be on-site.

Where: Carpinteria State Beach, 5361 6th St., Carpinteria

When: 11:30 a.m.-5 p.m, Saturday, Aug. 12

Cost: $50

Information: facebook.com/events/427028767663872

For most viewers, the Aug. 21, 2017, total solar eclipse will last less than two-and-a-half minutes. But for one team of NASA-funded scientists, the eclipse will last over seven minutes. Their secret? Following the shadow of the Moon in two retrof

Alexandra Yoon-Hendricks: 916-321-1418, @ayoonhendricks

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