Prepared for some summer season stargazing? August is a stargazer’s dream this 12 months, with Jupiter and Saturn at “opposition,” every rising at nightfall at their largest and brightest of the 12 months.
However there’s extra.
The height of the Perseid meteor bathe arrives this coming week. It will likely be greatest seen within the early hours of Thursday, August 12 in North America and on Friday, August 13 (UK and Europe).
It’s additionally the very best time week of the 12 months to see our Milky Manner galaxy arc throughout the night time sky proper after darkish. With a New Moon this Sunday, August 8, the subsequent 10 days are the darkest nights of the month.
Though you may see planets completely nicely from any metropolis, that’s not true of “taking pictures stars” and the Milky Manner, each of that are far more spectacular from a darkish sky vacation spot.
As a rule of thumb it’s essential to get about 25 miles/40 kilometres from a city or metropolis and verify the interactive Light Pollution Map.
Because the Perseid meteor bathe will probably be greatest seen from the northern hemisphere, listed below are among the greatest locations for reliably darkish skies in North America and Europe.
1.Mesa Verde Worldwide Darkish Sky Park, Colorado, US
Now considered one of 37 nationwide parks within the US designated at Worldwide Darkish Sky Parks, Mesa Verde National Park already provided public night time sky applications earlier than its designation in April.
An UNESCO World Heritage Sit, its well-known for its Ancestral Puebloan cliff dwellings and over 5,000 identified archeological websites … and its fabulously darkish night time skies.
2. Elan Valley Darkish Sky Park, Wales, UK
Though it get overshadowed by the extra well-known Brecon Beacons, Snowdonia and the coast of Pembrokeshire in Wales, the Elan Valley is the darkest place to go stargazing within the UK’s darkest nation.
A forty five,000-acre space of reservoirs, its Victorian pump homes, bridges and dams make it a magnet for night-scape photographers.
3. e-EyE, Extremadura, Spain
A Starlight Reserve for the final 5 years, the e-EyE astronomical advanced inorthwest of Seville in southwest Spain is considered one of a brand new breed of astro-tourism facilities.
In addition to renting an observatory shed and collaborating in star events and occasions, you may go away a telescope right here and remotely management it from dwelling, making the most of the world’s 250 clear nights every year.
4. Appalachian Mountain Membership’s (AMC) Maine Woods, New England, US
International Dark Sky Parks on the east coast of the US are few, however there’s a plan being hatched. In Might the 14,000 sq. kilometer forest at North Maine Woods was designated as such, with the thought to create an unlimited reserve by combining the brand new AMC Maine Woods International Dark Sky Park with the present Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument.
5. Cotswolds AONB, Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire, UK
Most Darkish Sky Parks within the UK are in Scotland, Wales and solely southwest and northern England, however darkish skies do exist nearer to London. The agricultural Cotswolds—identified for its rolling hills and golden-coloured Cotswold stone—is an Space of Excellent Pure Magnificence (AONB) in south central England that has darkish skies aplenty.
The Rollright Stones historical monument close to Chipping Norton is an official Dark Sky Discovery Site.
6. Prineville Reservoir State Park, Oregon, US
The primary Worldwide Darkish Sky Park in Oregon, Prineville Reservoir State Park was designated solely in Might.
Northeast of Bend within the excessive desert, it’s a 3,000-acre lake with boating, fishing, mountain climbing trails, campsites and starry skies.
7. Huge Bend Nationwide Park, Texas, US
Prepare for one of many largest darkish sky areas on this planet. Now going through a certification process being organised by McDonald Observatory, the native counties have been updating their darkish sky lighting ordinances.
It’s already one of the best places in North America for stargazing, with loads of star events, moonlight walks and night time sky interpretive applications.
8. Naturpark Attersee-Traunsee, Austria
The primary Worldwide Darkish Sky Park in Austria and designated earlier this 12 months, the Naturpark Attersee-Traunsee spans 77 sq. kilometers of forest within the foothills of the Alps.
All of its native lights have been changed in 2018 with darkish sky-friendly tools.
9. Réserve Internationale de Ciel Étoilé du Pic du Midi, Hautes-Pyrénées, France
A mix of an UNESCO World Heritage Website (Pyrénées-Mont Perdu) and a French nationwide park (Pyrénées Nationwide Park), the centrepiece of this huge Worldwide Darkish Sky Reserve is the enduring Pic du Midi Observatory.
You may ascend by cable automobile and spend the night with the stars … and a few fabulous telescopes.
10. Pure Bridge Worldwide Darkish Sky Park, Virginia, US
Don’t suppose that solely the night time skies of the western areas of the US ought to be recognised and guarded.
Virginia now has three Worldwide Darkish Sky Parks—probably the most of any state east of the Mississippi River—the most recent being the Natural Bridge State Park, a limestone gorge with forests and meadows.
11. Useless Horse Level Darkish Sky Park, Utah, US
Between the huge nationwide parks of Canyonlands and Arches—each well-known for his or her darkish skies—the small but dramatic Dead Horse Point State Park usually will get neglected.
About 6,000ft. above sea stage, its night time skies are super-dark and the views from its remark platform—above a gooseneck within the Colorado River—is unbeatable.
12. Brecon Beacons Worldwide Darkish Sky Reserve, Wales, UK
Point out darkish skies to anybody in southern England or South Wales they usually’ll instantly consider this well-known nationwide park. An unlimited space of peaks, rolling countryside and waterfalls, there are tons of of locations to camp, glamp and go stargazing.
Wishing you clear skies and broad eyes.