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Utah Travel Headlines Blog

Monday, June 23, 2008

World's Best Places to See the Stars

National Bridges National Monument is in the news, recognized as one of the best places on earth where you can enjoy a truly "dark sky" with a pristine view of the stars.

Writer Rebecca Ruiz explains in this news article. Here are excerpts.

"The night sky is disappearing before our eyes. The thousands of stars once visible to the naked eye are now obscured by the glare of industrial light and the haze of pollution. This is particularly true in the U.S. and Europe, where light researchers estimate that a child born today in either region has a one in 10 chance of witnessing a truly dark sky.

"The first park to receive the designation of "International Dark Sky Park" was Utah's Natural Bridges National Monument."

The National Park Service website for Natural Bridges adds these tidbits:

"The beauty of the night sky, the lack of light pollution, and the National Park Service commitment to night skies as a natural resource, led the International Dark-Sky Association... to designate Natural Bridges National Monument as the world’s first International Dark Sky Park.

"This is one of the darkest national parks in the country," Jones says, referring to a comprehensive study of night sky quality conducted by the National Park Service.

Just how dark is it? "It's the only Bortle Class 2 sky they've documented," said Chris Luginbuhl of the U.S. Naval Observatory in Flagstaff, Ariz, and a board member of the International Dark-Sky Association. "In plain English that means it’s the darkest or starriest sky they’ve seen while doing these reviews. The Bortle system is a 10-level scale with one and two being the darkest skies and 10 having the most light pollution."

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