And the night skies are now obstructed by the artificial lights of urban development. You have to drive to some remote location just to see the stars clearly. I remember that my two best star-gazing memories are during the NY blackout in 1965 and my month of outward bound off the coast of Maine in the mid-seventies. Both times there were no artificial lights to distract my view of the stars … and it was a mind-blowing experience.
There are precious few places where we can go to see the stars like we used to. According to Jeff Kanipe, author of “Cosmic Connections: How Astronomical Events Impact Life on Earth”:
“Most people have never even seen the Milky Way,” he said. “And when they do, they are just stunned. Seeing a sky full of stars in high summer is a tremendous joy. It’s something you never forget. And once you see it, it's something you'll forever want to share with others.”
These are some of his suggestions for great star-gazing views:
Cherry Springs State Park, Pa.− The 48-acre park, one of just eight International Dark Sky Parks, treats pure darkness the way jewelers treat gems − like it’s something precious. Cherry Springs is situated amidst the 262,000-acre Susquehannock State Forest and features some of the darkest skies on the East Coast.
Sky Meadows State Park, Va. − The aptly named Sky Meadows is just an hour’s drive from the nation’s capital and presents a black canvas upon which celestial objects can dazzle.
Big Pine Key, Fla. − Night skies here will look alien to most North American terrestrials. It’s the only place in the continental U.S. where stargazers can spy the Southern Cross and other features familiar to equatorial dwellers.
Eagle Harbor, Mich. − This Keweenaw Peninsula is just a little lick of land that juts out into Lake Superior towards Canada. The only lights to distract you from mesmerizing auroras and star splashes are on passing freighters.
Canyon of the Eagles Lodge and Nature Park, Texas − Home to the Eagle Eye Observatory about an hour north of Austin, the canyon’s a great place for pros and amateurs alike.
Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah − Stargazing here during a monthly new moon is as close as you’ll get in the continental U.S. to viewing the stars the way the cavemen did.
Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, Calif. − The park is 600,000 acres of splendid desolation just two hours east of San Diego. The weather here − moderate temperatures and low humidity − combines with the lack of light to give the skies a truly starring role in evening entertainment.
I would love you travel to some of these places he suggested … have any of you ever been to any of these?