GoCampingAmerica.com | Posted August
    2nd, 2016


    Starry, Starry Nights


    Happy Camper Blog



    While it can
    certainly be enjoyable to look up at the stars from your own backyard,
    there’s nothing like getting away from the city lights where the dark skies
    reveal even more of their celestial wonders. Here are some of the top spots
    to go stargazing in the U.S.:


    Kitt Peak National Observatory
    Tucson, Arizona Desert

    Groundbreaking astronomical research is conducted at Kitt Peak,
    which is home to the largest array of optical and radio telescopes in the
    world. The clear night skies of the Sonoran Desert and the observatory’s
    location atop a nearly 7,000-foot mountain make this one of the premier
    stargazing locations in the U.S.  The Kitt Peak Visitor Center also offers
    a binocular stargazing opportunity for those who cannot travel up to the
    mountain. The program is held at Saguaro National Park West where the staff
    teaches guests how to use binoculars to view planets, galaxies, star
    clusters, nebulae and more.

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    Stargazing in jacketDenali National Park

    One of the most spectacular displays of the heavens — the Aurora
    Borealis (also known as the Northern Lights) — can be viewed here. While it’s
    difficult to predict when this dazzling light show in colors of green, red,
    blue and purple will occur, the best times to catch it are in the
    fall, winter and early spring when the park is at its darkest.
    Starting in mid-August, Denali’s skies are also dark enough for some great
    stargazing from midnight until two or three in the morning, and by late
    September, the park loses enough daylight that stargazers don’t even have to
    be night owls to enjoy the starry skies.

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    Headlands International Dark Sky Park
    Mackinaw City, Michigan

    Set on approximately 550 acres of pristine woodlands on the
    coast of Lake Michigan, Headlands offers excellent stargazing, ranging from
    spectacular views of the Milky Way in the summer to meteor showers in late
    summer through the fall. And while the spectacular phenomenon of the Aurora
    Borealis (or Northern Lights) is elusive, it can be seen here year round and
    is the most active in March and September.

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    Acadia National Park
    Mount Desert, MaineStargaze at

    Since there is virtually no light pollution here, Acadia
    National Park is a prime location for stargazing, including views of the
    Milky Way just about every night. On September 22-25, the park will host the
    Acadia Night Sky Festival, a community celebration where volunteer
    astronomers and park rangers will point out constellations and other night
    sky features visible with the naked eye, binoculars and
    telescopes. Special events at the festival will include a night sky
    “Under the Stars” boat cruise and a bioluminescent and star gazing kayaking

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    Blue Ridge Observatory and Star Park
    North Carolina

    Located six miles from Spruce Pine, North Carolina and
    surrounded by Pisgah National Forest, the six-acre Blue Ridge Observatory and
    Star Park is the first star park to be certified by the International
    Dark-Sky Association in the southeastern U.S. Visitors are welcome to
    stargaze at the park, but should be aware that lighting is kept to a minimum
    to preserve the dark skies, so they should proceed with caution. A new
    observatory is being constructed at the site and is scheduled to open in the
    fall. It will be located an elevation of 2,736 feet and will offer 360 degree
    views. The observatory will include an f/3.6 StarStructure Newtonian telescope
    with a 34-inch mirror and will be the largest telescope in the Southeast in
    dark skies dedicated for public use.

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    Big Pine Key
    Florida stars in

    Located about 35 miles northeast of Key West, Big Pine Key
    boasts clear night skies and has the claim to fame of being one of the few
    spots in the U.S. where the Southern Cross constellation is visible. The
    island is known for its annual Winter Star Party which is is hosted by the
    Southern Cross Astronomical Society each February and draws more than 600
    amateur astronomers from around the world.

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