Top 10 Best Spots for Stargazing in the US

6: Chaco Culture National Historical Park, New Mexico

Chaco Culture National Historical Park, New Mexico
Photo Courtesy: NPS Site

Also known as International Dark Sky Park, Chaco Culture National Historical Park, New Mexico, is regarded by night sky watchers as one the best stargazing sites in the USA. Visitors can experience the same night sky that the original residents of the area did a thousand years back. One of the reasons for the exceptional stargazing experience here is that its natural environment has been legally protected by declaring 90% of the area as natural darkness zone, which means that any kind of permanent outdoor lighting is prohibited. This has been done not only to preserve the sanctity of the night sky, but also because natural darkness is essential for the survival of nocturnal wild life as well as for the natural rhythms of human and plant life, which depend primarily on the night sky to remain stable and immutable.

Address: Nageezi, NM 87037

7: Kitt Peak National Observatory, Arizona

Kitt Peak National Observatory, Arizona

The Kitt Peak National Observatory  is an astronomical observatory, located on the Kitt Peak of the Quinlan Mountains in the Arizona-Sonoran Desert at the height of 2,096 m (6,880 ft). It is about 88 kilometers or 55 miles west-southwest of Tuscon, Arizona. The observatory is a home to the largest collection of astronomical instruments in the world and is administered by the National Optical Astronomy Observatory. Founded in 1958, Kitt Peak National Observatory hosts three major night-time telescopes. It also provides for consortia, which operates 22 optical telescopes and two radio telescopes. The guides at the observatory will assist you in using the star charts to locate the constellations and enjoy a binocular tour of the night sky.

Address: Highway 86 to 386 for 12 miles, Sells, AZ 85634

8: The Headlands, Michigan

The Headlands, Michigan

The Headlands International Dark Sky Park or the Headlands Park of Emmet County is situated on the Straits of Mackinac, 3.8 miles west of downtown Mackinaw City. The Headlands was declared the sixth international Dark Sky Park in the United States and the ninth in the world in May 2011. The park, covering an area of 600 acres and comprising old-growth forest, is located on more than two miles of underdeveloped Lake Michigan shoreline in the Emmet County. The site is known for some of the darkest skies completely free from the light pollution. Emmet County ensures that this pollution- free state remains intact for all time. Astronomers, night-sky enthusiasts and photographers can expect to enjoy the dazzling night skies in the Headlands. The park remains open to visitors 24/7 throughout the year, but no camping is allowed within five miles of trails throughout the property.

Address: 15675 Headlands Rd, Mackinaw City, MI 49701

9: Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska

Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska

Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska is one of the five best stargazing locations in the entire United States. It comprises tall granite spires and snow-clad peaks and covers an area of 160 miles of Alaska Range. Denali National Park and Preserve is known for world famous natural phenomenon known as Aurora Borealis or Northern Lights. This mind-blowing spectacle, occurring on the magnetic poles of the earth, comprises purples, blues, reds and greens dancing joyously on the night sky. Northern Lights, though hard to predict, occur all through the year. They are more clearly visible in the second week of August when the night sky is quite dark. The amount of darkness increases with each succeeding night during the fall, winter, and early spring - the reason is that Denali recedes farther and farther away from the sun during this period. Stargazers can expect fantastic time as the darkness stays for longer hours during these periods.

Address: George Parks Hwy, Denali National Park and Preserve, AK

10: Glacier National Park, Montana

Glacier National Park, Montana
Photo Courtesy: Flickr/GlacierNPS

Glacier National Park is located in the U.S state of Montana on the Canada-United States border. It covers an area of over one million acres of land. The Park hosts some of the darkest skies in the world and provides ideal conditions for stargazing opportunities. The dark nights are conductive for the maintenance of the ecosystem which is essential for the survival and growth of the plant and animal life on the park. The ideal time for star gazers to visit Glacier National Park begins from 11th July when the rangers organize the star gazing programs on the east and west sides of the Park. Visitors can enjoy the sight of deep space objects including galaxies, star clusters, planets, and nebulae through powerful telescopes available on the site.

Address: West Glacier, MT

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