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).
At 10,000 feet above sea level, Cedar Breaks National Monument gets you just a little closer to the moon. With epic night skies, unique red rock canyons and excellent wildlife viewing, Cedar Breaks is another must-see on your next adventure. Winter activities include snowmobiling, snowshoeing and cross country skiing on miles of awesome trails. Photo by Richard Cozzens (www.sharetheexperience.org).
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
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).
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).
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.
For National Lighthouse Day, we’re featuring the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse at Cape Hatteras National Seashore in North Carolina. Protecting mariners in an area known as the “Graveyard of the Atlantic,” the lighthouse was built in 1870 and is distinctive for its spiral black and white paint pattern. It remains the tallest brick lighthouse in America and is a favorite subject of visiting photographers. Photo by Stacy Abbott (www.sharetheexperience.org).
Learn more about the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse: https://www.nps.gov/caha/planyourvisit/chls.htm