Night Skies

Houseboat beached at night with stars overhead.
The True GRIT houseboat sits under the Milky Way at dusk. Out on Lake Powell, the only artificial light comes from the boats.

NPS Photo/B Moffitt

 

Night Scape

Celebrated for their wild rivers, sheer masses of intricately-carved sandstone, fragile desert ecosystems rich in diversity, and well preserved records of the region’s historic human inhabitants, the national parks and monuments of the Colorado Plateau are a sanctuary for the American Southwest’s cultural and natural heritage. Also home to some of the darkest skies in the country, these national parks and monuments provide a place where visitors can experience our shared, universal heritage; the Milky Way’s silvery rainbow glittering against inky black. The magnificence of the cosmos has inspired humans for hundreds of years, but it is something that may never be experienced by our youngest generations.

Did you know that as many as 80 percent of Americans can no longer see the Milky Way from where they live? In large urban areas, the brilliance of the night sky is completely concealed by the non-natural light emitted by the city. In contrast, as many as 15,000 stars may be seen throughout the night at Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, and we have made a commitment to protect this precious, but rapidly disappearing, natural resource.
 
 
 

Our Efforts to Stop Light Pollution

You may notice some of the exterior lighting around Glen Canyon National Recreation Area emits light that appears deep yellow, red or orange. This is because blue light brightens the night sky more than any other color, so we’re actively working to replace bulbs that produce a bluer spectrum with those that produce a “warmer” spectrum. In addition to the color of our light, we are also moving toward shielded exterior light fixtures which prevent light trespass.

What Can I Do To Help?

Unlike many other types of pollution, light pollution is totally reversible. Each time you turn off an exterior light, you’ve helped to decrease the amount light pollution being produced. Similarly, the next time one of the exterior lights on your home needs replaced, consider a fixture that only directs the light downward and prevents light for escaping up into the sky. You can learn more about dark-sky lighting principles by visiting the International Dark-Sky Association’s website.
 

Dark Sky News and Articles From Other Parks

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    Astronomy Programs in National Parks

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    • Rocky Mountain National Park

      The Great American Solar Eclipse

      Tuesday, July 25, 2017

      On August 21, a solar eclipse will happen across the US. Drop by to learn how a solar eclipse happens, what you might see, and how to view the eclipse safely. More

      Time:
      10:00 AM to 12:00 PM
      Location:
      Kawuneeche Visitor Center
    • Capitol Reef National Park

      Star Program

      Wednesday, July 26, 2017

      Take a naked-eye tour of the night sky at our International Dark Sky Park. Meet at the campground amphitheater (1 mile/1.6 km south of the visitor center on the Scenic Drive); 20–30 minutes. More

      Time:
      9:45 PM to 10:15 PM
      Location:
      Campground Amphitheater
      Fees:
      Free
    • Rocky Mountain National Park

      Twilight Walk

      Wednesday, July 26, 2017

      Soak in the magical twilight hour as the sun sinks behind the high peaks. Learn what the natural world is doing as day slips into night. Dress warmly and bring a flashlight. More

      Time:
      7:45 PM to 9:15 PM
      Location:
      Bear Lake
    • Rocky Mountain National Park

      Celestial Wilderness

      Thursday, July 27, 2017

      Use a telescope to explore the astronomy of Rocky’s night sky. Dress warmly, bring binoculars if you have them. If overcast, meet at Kawuneeche Visitor Center for an indoor presentation. More

      Time:
      9:00 PM to 10:30 PM
      Location:
      Harbison Meadow Parking Area (if cloudy, Kawuneeche Visitor Center)
    • Rocky Mountain National Park

      Astronomy in the Park

      Friday, July 28, 2017

      Observe the night sky with the help of a park ranger and expert volunteer astronomers. More

      Time:
      8:15 PM
      Location:
      Upper Beaver Meadows Trailhead
      Fees:
      Free
    • Glacier National Park

      Logan Pass Star Party

      Friday, July 28, 2017

      Take advantage of Glacier's unusually dark skies to gaze through telescopes into the depths of the universe More

      Time:
      10:00 PM to 12:00 AM
      Location:
      Logan Pass
      Fees:
      Free ticket, usual park entrance fees apply
    • Chickasaw National Recreation Area

      Star Party

      Friday, July 28, 2017

      Astronomy program at Veterans Lake More

      Time:
      9:00 PM to 9:30 PM
      Location:
      Veterans Lake Dam
      Fees:
      Free
    • Arches National Park

      Celebrate the Stars

      Saturday, July 29, 2017

      Rangers from Dead Horse Point State Park, Canyonlands National Park, and Arches National Park will join forces—and telescopes—to offer visitors a chance to experience "the park after dark." A short ranger talk will be followed by telescope viewing.  More

      Time:
      9:30 PM to 11:30 PM
      Location:
      Bar-M trailhead, north of Arches on US 191
      Fees:
      Free
    • Canyonlands National Park

      Celebrate the Stars

      Saturday, July 29, 2017

      Rangers from Dead Horse Point State Park, Canyonlands National Park, and Arches National Park will join forces—and telescopes—to offer visitors a chance to experience "the park after dark." A short ranger talk will be followed by telescope viewing.  More

      Time:
      9:30 PM to 11:30 PM
      Location:
      Bar-M Trailhead, just north of Arches National Park on US 191
      Fees:
      Free
    • Gateway National Recreation Area

      Stargazing

      Saturday, July 29, 2017

      Join the Staten Island Chapter of the Amateur Astronomer's Association for public stargazing. More

      Time:
      8:30 PM to 10:00 PM
      Location:
      Great Kills Park - Parking Lot A
    • Cedar Breaks National Monument

      Summer Star Party!

      Saturday, July 29, 2017

      Go on a laser guided tour of the night sky and gaze at celestial objects through park telescopes! More

      Time:
      8:30 PM to 11:00 PM
      Location:
      Point Supreme
      Fees:
      Park Fees Apply
    • Rocky Mountain National Park

      Twilight Walk

      Saturday, July 29, 2017

      Soak in the magical twilight hour as the sun sinks behind the high peaks. Learn what the natural world is doing as day slips into night. Dress warmly and bring a flashlight. More

      Time:
      7:45 PM to 9:15 PM
      Location:
      Sprague Lake
    • Rocky Mountain National Park

      Twilight Walk

      Wednesday, August 2, 2017

      Soak in the magical twilight hour as the sun sinks behind the high peaks. Learn what the natural world is doing as day slips into night. Dress warmly and bring a flashlight. More

      Time:
      7:15 PM to 8:45 PM
      Location:
      Bear Lake
    • Rocky Mountain National Park

      Celestial Wilderness

      Thursday, August 3, 2017

      Use a telescope to explore the astronomy of Rocky’s night sky. Dress warmly, bring binoculars if you have them. If overcast, meet at Kawuneeche Visitor Center for an indoor presentation. More

      Location:
      Harbison Meadow Parking Area (if cloudy, Kawuneeche Visitor Center)
    • Rocky Mountain National Park

      Stories Behind the Moon and Stars

      Friday, August 4, 2017

      The night sky comes alive through storytelling and fun activities. Celebrate darkness at Rocky! More

      Time:
      8:00 PM to 9:30 PM
      Location:
      Moraine Park Discovery Center
      Fees:
      Free
    • Rocky Mountain National Park

      Twilight Walk

      Saturday, August 5, 2017

      Soak in the magical twilight hour as the sun sinks behind the high peaks. Learn what the natural world is doing as day slips into night. Dress warmly and bring a flashlight. More

      Time:
      7:15 PM to 8:45 PM
      Location:
      Sprague Lake
    • Aztec Ruins National Monument

      Full Moon Tour at Aztec Ruins National Monument

      Sunday, August 6, 2017

      Experience the Full Moon rise over Aztec Ruins on a guided Full Moon Tour! More

      Time:
      8:00 PM to 8:45 PM
      Location:
      Aztec West great house
      Fees:
      Free
    • Rocky Mountain National Park

      Twilight Walk

      Monday, August 7, 2017

      Soak in the magical twilight hour as the sun sinks behind the high peaks. Learn what the natural world is doing as day slips into night. Dress warmly and bring a flashlight. More

      Time:
      7:15 PM to 8:45 PM
      Location:
      Bear Lake
    • Cape Cod National Seashore

      Star Party: Perseid Meteor Shower

      Saturday, August 12, 2017

      Meet a ranger at Marconi Beach as you enjoy the Perseid meteor shower, and learn about the science behind the spectacle. More

      Time:
      9:00 PM to 10:30 PM
      Location:
      Marconi Beach Parking Lot
      Fees:
      Free
    • Rocky Mountain National Park

      Astronomy in the Park

      Friday, August 18, 2017

      Observe the night sky with the help of a park ranger and expert volunteer astronomers. More

      Time:
      7:45 PM
      Location:
      Upper Beaver Meadows Trailhead
      Fees:
      Free
    • Glen Canyon National Recreation Area

      Horseshoe Bend Star Party

      Friday, August 18, 2017

      Join the Glen Canyon Night Ranger team and the Glen Canyon Natural History Association to celebrate the beauty of dark skies over Page, AZ More

      Time:
      9:00 PM to 11:00 PM
      Location:
      Horseshoe Bend parking lot
    • Gulf Islands National Seashore

      Stargazing at Fort Pickens Area

      Friday, August 18, 2017

      Join park staff and volunteers from the Escambia Amateur Astronomer’s Association (EAAA) for a fun night out under the stars. Get an up close view of some celestial objects and learn more about the night sky. Telescopes will be available for use. More

      Time:
      7:45 PM to 10:00 PM
      Location:
      Fort Pickens Area
      Fees:
      FREE - Entrance Fee Required
    • Cedar Breaks National Monument

      Summer Star Party!

      Saturday, August 19, 2017

      Go on a laser guided tour of the night sky and gaze at celestial objects through park telescopes! More

      Time:
      8:00 PM to 10:30 PM
      Location:
      Point Supreme, Cedar Breaks
      Fees:
      Park Entrance Fees Apply
    • Agate Fossil Beds National Monument

      Total Solar Eclipse Weekend

      Saturday, August 19, 2017

      A weekend of astronomers and Native Americans talking about the solar eclipse. More

      Location:
      Agate Fossil Beds National Monument
      Fees:
      Free
    • Chaco Culture National Historical Park

      Solar Eclipse

      Monday, August 21, 2017

      Join park staff to safely witness the partial solar eclipse! More

      Location:
      Chaco Culture National Historical Park
      Fees:
      Free with park admission
    • Aztec Ruins National Monument

      Solar Eclipse Observation

      Monday, August 21, 2017

      Witness a partial solar eclipse from an archeoastronomy site! More

      Time:
      10:30 AM to 1:00 PM
      Location:
      Aztec Ruins National Monument
      Fees:
      No event fee, but standard entrance fees apply.

    Last updated: May 16, 2017

    Contact the Park

    Mailing Address:

    PO Box 1507
    Page, AZ 86040

    Phone:

    (928) 608-6200
    Receptionist available at Glen Canyon Headquarters from 7 am to 4 pm MST, Monday through Friday. The phone is not monitored when the building is closed.

    Contact Us