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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    • Theodore Roosevelt National Park

      Dakota Nights Astronomy Festival

      Friday, September 15, 2017

      Theodore Roosevelt National Park hosts the 5th annual Dakota Nights Astronomy Festival. More

      Location:
      Medora, ND
      Fees:
      Entrance fees apply
    • Capitol Reef National Park

      Star Program

      Friday, September 15, 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:
      9:00 PM to 9:30 PM
      Location:
      Campground Amphitheater
      Fees:
      Free
    • Rocky Mountain National Park

      Twilight Walk

      Monday, September 18, 2017

      Leave the elk viewing crowds behind. Enjoy the magic of twilight as the sun sinks behind the high peaks. Join a ranger and learn what the natural world is doing as day slips into night. More

      Time:
      6:30 PM to 8:00 PM
      Location:
      Lily Lake
    • Glen Canyon National Recreation Area

      Dark Skies Ranger Talk and Stargazing

      Friday, September 22, 2017

      Stargazing with Rangers More

      Time:
      8:00 PM to 10:00 PM
      Location:
      Wahweap Swim Beach Parking Lot
      Fees:
      There is no fee to attend this event
    • Cedar Breaks National Monument

      Southwest Astronomy Festival

      Friday, September 22, 2017

      The Southwest Astronomy Festival is an annual event that will occur for the first time September 22-23, 2017. Astronomy events will be held at various locations and times including Cedar City, Saint George, Ivins, Springdale, and Pipe Spring, AZ. More

      Location:
      Various Locations in Southern Utah
      Fees:
      Free
    • Gateway National Recreation Area

      Stargazing

      Friday, September 22, 2017

      Join the Amateur Astronomers Association of Brooklyn for stargazing. More

      Time:
      8:00 PM to 10:00 PM
      Location:
      Floyd Bennett Field - Community Gardens
      Fees:
      free
    • Gulf Islands National Seashore

      Stargazing at Fort Pickens Area

      Friday, September 22, 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
    • Gateway National Recreation Area

      Stargazing

      Saturday, September 23, 2017

      Public stargazing at Parking Lot A. More

      Time:
      8:00 PM to 10:00 PM
      Location:
      Great Kills Park, Parking Lot A
    • Arches National Park

      Celebrate the Stars

      Saturday, September 30, 2017

      Experience the naturally dark night skies around Moab. A short ranger talk will be followed by telescope viewing. More

      Time:
      7:30 PM to 9:00 PM
      Location:
      Moab Brands Trails parking lot, Highway 191
      Fees:
      free
    • Tumacácori National Historical Park

      Experience the Night

      Thursday, October 5, 2017

      Explore the grounds of Tumacácori under the light of the full moon or under the stars. More

      Time:
      5:00 PM to 8:30 PM
      Location:
      Tumacácori Mission Grounds
      Fees:
      Entrance fee applies
    • Sagamore Hill National Historic Site

      Astronomy Night at Sagamore Hill

      Saturday, October 7, 2017

      Hofstra University will present an Astronomy Night at Sagamore Hill. Dr. Donald Lubowich, Coordinator of the Astronomy Outreach Program at Hofstra University, will give the public a spectacular glimpse of the heavens. More

      Time:
      8:00 PM to 10:00 PM
      Location:
      Visitor Center
      Fees:
      Free

    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