Light pollution: if you live in a highly populated area, you’ve experienced it. You walk outside at night to look skyward and, instead of a glimmering carpet of stars, you see a sky muddied by the city lights below.
It’s the price we pay for progress. But, the good news is that there are many places across the country free of light pollution, where you can get an amazing view of the night sky.
Nevada is one of the best states for stargazing, and you don’t have to travel too far from its larger cities to find clear skies. Fire Valley State Park and Spring Valley are only about an hour from Las Vegas. If you don’t mind a bit of a drive, Great Basin National Park offers visitors an opportunity to see thousands of stars, including five planets in our solar system, star clusters and meteors — all with the naked eye. LandCentral.com has properties in Nevada that are great for stargazing. You can own your very own piece of stargazing heaven for as little as $298 down.
Flagstaff, Arizona, is America’s first International Dark Sky City. Since 1958, its citizens have worked to preserve the night sky and have put city ordinances in place to do just that. Lowell Observatory sits atop Mars Hill in Flagstaff. It was established in 1894 and, to this day, it is sparking the imagination of its visitors with its unparalleled views of the stars. There also is the Atmospheric Research Observatory, which is open to the public and has six, 10-inch telescopes for viewing the stars. LandCentral.com offers a wide variety of properties in Coconino County, many of which are just about an hour’s drive from Flagstaff.
If these states don’t strike your fancy, take a look at this map, which uses Google Map satellite imagery to show a “heat map” of the places with the most and the least light pollution. Zoom in on the map and you can find areas marked for great stargazing across the United States.
There are many ways to get involved in the battle against light pollution. The best resource for finding ways to help is the International Dark Sky Association, or IDA, for short. IDA was started in 1988 with this simple mantra in mind: “Light what you need, when you need it.” You can become a member online and become part of the solution for light pollution.