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).
Last night’s “super blue blood moon” was the second full moon of January and appeared 14 percent bigger than the usual full moon. The reddish color is an effect of the lunar eclipse, when the moon passes through the Earth’s shadow. It’s the first time this has happened in 150 years. Did you see this rare and spectacular event? Photo from the Pony Express National Historic Trail in Nevada by Bob Wick, Bureau of Land Management. #SuperBlueBloodMoon
Located just an hour’s drive from Fairbanks, Alaska, the one-million-acre White Mountains National Recreation Area offers stunning scenery, peaceful solitude, and outstanding opportunities for year-round recreation. Summer visitors to the White Mountains pan for gold, fish, hike and camp under Alaska’s midnight sun. In winter, visitors travel by ski, snowshoe, dog team and snowmobile to enjoy the 12 public-use cabins, 250 miles of groomed trails and the spectacular sight of the Northern Lights dancing overhead. Photo by Bob Wick, Bureau of Land Management, @mypubliclands
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).
Clouds cover last week’s full moon, creating a spooky-looking pic of the area near Bodie Hills, California. Called the Harvest Moon, the first full moon after the fall equinox baths the sky in bright moonlight in early evening, aiding farmers in harvesting their crops. Photo by Bob Wick, Bureau of Land Management, @mypubliclands
Last week, the Northern Lights were shining bright over Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve in Alaska. On dark, clear nights, there’s nothing quite like watching the aurora borealis reflect off the mighty Yukon River. Photo by Jake Wiley, National Park Service.
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.
On this day in 1906, President Theodore Roosevelt established Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado to “preserve the works of man.” It was the first national park of its kind, created to protect not just the natural beauty of the area but also the priceless cultural treasures found there. Mesa Verde preserves nearly 5,000 archaeological sites, including Cliff Palace, the largest cliff dwelling in the park. Visitors can explore these ancient buildings and imagine what life was like for the people who built them. Photo by Scott Reynolds (www.sharetheexperience.org).
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).