Night Sky Viewing - Etiquette and Advice

Please help preserve the night environment and be considerate of others when viewing the dark night sky in Joshua Tree. Most importantly: no white lights and keep your cell phones off and tucked away. Only bring red lights.

This is very important for protecting your night vision. It takes 20-30 minutes for the human eye to maximize its ability to see in very low light conditions. At a star party, you will be best able to enjoy the dark night sky if you give your eyes plenty of opportunity to adapt and if you take care to protect your night vision—and that of those around you.

Red Lights

Do not use bright white flashlights or headlamps at any program. We ask that you only use red lights. You can make a regular flashlight into a red light by covering it with red cellophane, tape, red fabric, red construction paper, etc. Most outdoor stores sell red lights and red headlamps.

Cell Phones Off

Be aware that your cell phone also acts like a light. Put your phone away for night programs and enjoy moments without technology. Inside the park, there is little cell coverage anyway. If you must contact someone, remove yourself from the night sky viewing area. Calls and texts are best made in your car.


Bring food and water. There is no running water within the park boundaries. Please plan ahead. However! Do not eat or drink around fragile and expensive telescopes.


Bring extra layers of warm clothes. Temperatures drop quickly in the evening. Do not wear or bring any clothing that lights up (flashing kids' sneakers, for example).


You may be on your feet and looking up for long periods of time. To make your experience as comfortable as possible, bring a lightweight folding chair for each person in your group.

Leave Pets Home

Please don't bring dogs to night sky observing events. Leashes can get tangled in telescope tripods, causing tripping hazards and potential for expensive damage.


When you take your turn viewing at one of the telescopes, simply lower your eye to the eyepiece. Try to avoid touching the telescope with your hands, as this can bring the scope out of focus or change the field of view. If you can't see anything in the telescope, let the scope operator know and they will adjust it for you.

Last updated: April 21, 2017

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74485 National Park Drive
Twentynine Palms, CA 92277-3597


760 367-5500

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