Viewing and Photographing the Night Sky in Death Valley
Where to go
Light PollutionLight pollution affects us all. Artificial light creates sky glow and prevents the stars from being seen. Most people can't see the Milky Way from where they live and they may never see it in their lifetime! The good news is that you can make a difference because this type of pollution is reversible right now.
How you can make a difference
International Dark Sky Park
Death Valley National Park harbors some of the darkest night skies in the United States. That dark sky is key to its certification as the third International Dark Sky Park in the U.S. National Park System (International Dark-Sky Association.)
To qualify for the dark sky designation, the park improved external lighting at facilities in the Furnace Creek and Stovepipe Wells areas, reducing energy consumption, sky glow, and glare. The designation requires the park to sustain its efforts to protect night sky resources and visitor education. Implementation of the park's lighting guidelines will improve the natural character of the night and leave the stars untarnished in other areas of the park.
"At Death Valley the sky literally begins at your feet," said Tyler Nordgren, Associate Professor of Physics at the University of Redlands (Calif.) and International Dark-Sky Association board member. "When my students and I look up at night from our southern California campus, we can usually count 12 stars in the sky. However, less than a five hour drive from Los Angeles there's a place where anyone can look up and see the universe the way everyone could 100 years ago."
Last updated: March 1, 2021