It’s International Dark Sky Week, and we’re celebrating some of the public lands that are awesome stargazing destinations. Some of the last harbors of dark skies, public lands provide unspoiled views of the stars glittering above. Named the first International Dark Sky Park in 2007, Natural Bridges National Monument in Utah contains three beautiful natural bridges. At night, the bridges form a window into the sky, giving visitors a view of thousands of stars that are bright enough to cast a shadow. Visitors here can see up to 15,000 stars throughout the night.
Check out more awesome night sky photos: https://on.doi.gov/2qwdV51
Photo of the Milky Way and Owachomo Bridge by Manish Mamtani (www.sharetheexperience.com).
Spreading across Long Valley in California, the Volcanic Tablelands are a vast and unique landscape formed 700,000 years ago. Small canyons and bluffs dot the mostly flat area, offering amazing night sky views. Carved into the gray, red and pink rocks are extraordinary petroglyphs, mysterious symbols created by Native Americans centuries ago. Archaeologists can only speculate on their meaning. Photo of Bureau of Land Management site by Brandon Yoshizawa (www.sharetheexperience.org).
Happy Halloween! 🎃👻
Halloween is a fun time to scare ourselves with things that go bump in the night, but the night sky doesn’t need to be terrifying. Many people find peace looking up at the endless dome of stars. There’s also the thrill of watching a lightning storm light up the darkness like a camera flash. This amazing shot from Natural Bridges National Monument in Utah shows you why you don’t need to be afraid of the dark. Photo by Alexander Boardman (www.sharetheexperience.org).
From its rocky coastline to the top of Cadillac Mountain, Acadia National Park in Maine will take your breath away. Day or night, the sights and sounds of the park give visitors memories they’ll cherish for a lifetime. Famous for sunrise, the park is also a terrific place to enjoy the night sky. Photo of the Milky Way from Little Hunters Beach by Joshua Snow (www.sharetheexperience.org).
The night sky over Joshua Tree National Park is a glittering dome of sparkling stars, bright planets and streaking meteors – but most people no longer get to see it where they live. In urban and suburban settings, artificial lighting and atmospheric pollutants wash out the light of the stars. Boasting some of the darkest nights in Southern California, Joshua Tree offers many visitors the chance to admire the Milky Way for the first time in their lives and was recently designated an International Dark Sky Park. Photo by Brad Sutton, National Park Service.
Located on the outer portion of Massachusetts’s Cape, Cape Cod National Seashore’s 44,600 acres encompass a rich mosaic of marine, estuarine, fresh water and terrestrial ecosystems. Here you can explore pristine sandy beach, lighthouses, cultural landscapes and wild cranberry bogs. Photo of the Milky Way rising over a salt pond by Jatin Thakkar (www.sharetheexperience.org).
Lassen Volcanic National Park in California is home to steaming fumaroles, meadows freckled with wildflowers, clear mountain lakes, and numerous volcanoes. Jagged peaks tell the story of its eruptive past while roaring steam, thumping mud pots and boiling pools continue to shape the land. Photo of a starry night over Lake Manzanita by Kedar Datta (www.sharetheexperience.org).
As night falls on Devils Tower National Monument, it transforms from a place of darkness into a place of wonder. Thousands of twinkling, glittering stars dot the night sky over an astounding geologic feature that protrudes out of the rolling prairie surrounding the Black Hills. Stay for nature’s night show at Wyoming’s Devils Tower – it’s worth it! Photo by National Park Service.