When our ancestors gazed out into the night, they were greeted with a nearly infinite canvas of distant burning suns. Though our fascination with the stars has never waned, our visual connection to the cosmos has been severed. In the United States today, nearly 80 percent of the population are unable to see the Milky Way with the naked eye. If you’re looking to reconnect with the constellations, these four stargazing locations are sure to rekindle your love of the night sky!
Cherry Springs State Park, Pennsylvania
Settled on 48 acres in Pennsylvania, Cherry Springs State Park is one of only 12 International Dark Sky Parks on earth. Regarded as the darkest point in the Eastern and Midwestern United States, over 5,000 stars can bee seen with the naked eye. Which, as far as current scientific understanding allows, is as many stars as it is physically possible to see. To put it another way, the stars from Cherry Springs shine so brightly that the Milky Way casts a visible shadow!
Death Valley National Park, California
Another International Dark Sky Park, Death Valley National Park remains one of the greatest locations to stargaze, despite the distant glow from Los Angeles some 100 miles distant.
Light pollution is caused by the abundance of light emitting from our cities. Much of the light we create is cast upward and outward, ultimately striking dust and other stray particles in the surrounding atmosphere. The reflection of this light results in Sky Glow, one of the major impediments to our view of the stars.
Craters of the Moon National Monument, Idaho
A newly designated International Dark Sky Park in 2017, Craters of the Moon National Monument offers incredible views of the Milky Way and surrounding stars. Park sponsored Sky Parties take place every Spring and Fall, and park lead Full Moon Walks can be enjoyed all summer long!
Light pollution not only affects humans, but can be equally detrimental to insects, birds, and turtles that rely on natural light cycles for their survival.
Cloud Cap Campground, Mt. Hood, Oregon
While the cities of the Pacific Northwest generate some of the poorest night sky conditions in the country, the nearby Cascade Volcanoes do their part to shield the sky glow caused by the excess light. At 6,000 ft above sea level and sealed by Mt. Hood, Cloud Cap offers some of the best stargazing opportunities in the region. Even still, the faintly glowing dome of light from nearby Portland can still be seen in the distance.
For more information, or to schedule your next stargazing adventure, follow the links below.
Cherry Springs | Death Valley | Craters of the Moon | Cloud Cap
For more information about Dark Sky locations in your area, check out this Dark Sky Map.