Where to celebrate International Dark Skies Week in Arizona

Apr 7, 2021, 2:00 PM
(Pixabay Photo)...
(Pixabay Photo)
(Pixabay Photo)

Arizona has always been known for having some of the best skies in the entire nation, if not in the entire world.

I first came to Arizona back in 1987, from back East and have been proud to call this great state my home for the past 34 years.

Great weather for most of the year and the exceptional night skies are some of the more important reasons that I love this state.

Over the years, the light pollution from Phoenix and the rest of the Valley have degraded the clarity of our night skies to a large degree and forced serious sky observers to move out to the more rural regions of the state to secure a view of many amazing objects.

What can we do about the robust development in our state, mind you, I believe in growth and prosperity, but who will help us preserve the night sky legacy which has made Arizona such a sacred plane on the planet?

Did you know that maybe less than 20% of the U.S. population has ever seen a dark enough sky to witness the glow of the Milky Way?

Do you even care?

The Egyptians saw the Milky Way as a great pool of milk in the sky, as well as Hindu mythology describing the Milky Way as a dolphin swimming through the sky.

Imagine living in Singapore, one of the places on Earth which seems to always be in some type of twilight as well as major lights from close urban growth. Sad to say, if you ever wanted to look at the night sky, the sky is so bright, your eyes never get to dark adapt.

A similar experience occurs in Kuwait and Qatar in the Middle East.

Check the light pollution in your region of the globe.

On the other hand, one of the best locations on Earth to view some really dark skies occurs in the Azores. They are some 1,000 mikes from any major bright city or land mass lighting.

Welcome in the International Dark Sky Association.

For well over a generation they have been helping to preserve the quality of our night sky and do it in a way that business can flourish and we can still help reduce light pollution.

We celebrate Dark Sky Week April 5-12 in helping people understand the mission of the International Dark Sky Association and what we can do to preserve and enjoy our wonderful night skies.

Right here in Arizona; we have a list of the places which are designated as “dark sky” locations:

Arizona Dark Sky parks:

Grand Canyon National Park

Kartchner Caverns State Park

Oracle State Park

Parashant National Monument

Petrified Forest National Park

Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument

Tumacácori National Historical Park

Tonto National Monument

Walnut Canyon National Monument

Wupatki National Monument

IDA Dark Sky communities:

Certified IDA International Dark Sky communities

Beverly Shores, Indiana

Big Park/Village of Oak Creek, Arizona

Bon Accord, Canada

Borrego Springs, California

Camp Verde, Arizona

Coll, Scotland

Cottonwood, Arizona

Dripping Springs, Texas

Flagstaff, Arizona

Fountain Hills, Arizona

Fredericksburg, Texas

Fulda, Germany

Hawthorn Woods, Illinois

Helper, Utah

Homer Glen, Illinois

Horseshoe Bay, Texas

Ketchum, Idaho

Lakewood Village, Texas

Moffat, Scotland

Møn and Nyord, Denmark

Niue (South Pacific)

Norwood, Colorado

Ridgway, Colorado

Sark, Channel Islands

Sedona, Arizona

Thunder Mountain Pootseev Nightsky, Arizona-Utah

Torrey, Utah

Westcliffe and Silver Cliff, Colorado

Wimberley Valley, Texas

Let’s find some amazing sights in our Arizona dark skies!

To print your own monthly star chart, click here.

To view satellites/dates/times of passage, click here.

Listen to the Dr. Sky Show on KTAR News 92.3 FM every Saturday at 3 a.m.

Dr. Sky Blog

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Where to celebrate International Dark Skies Week in Arizona