Your host:

Phil Harrington

 

Do you know of a dark-sky site that you would like to share with the rest of us?

If so, click here.

Will it be clear tonight?

 

Recipient for the week of December 24 - 30, 2000

 

 

 

One of life's little pleasures is standing outside on a clear, dark night and simply looking up at the starry tapestry passing overhead.  But with light pollution an ever increasing problem for amateur astronomers, the prospect of finding a dark observing site that is both accessible and convenient is becoming more and more difficult to accomplish.  Where can we set up our telescopes and enjoy the true majesty of the universe?

You just might find your astronomical nirvana here.  This constantly expanded continent-wide dark-sky observing site directory lists dozens of observing sites in 38 states and 6 Canadian provinces, with new sites being added regularly.  These sites have all been contributed by people just like you and me, who enjoy viewing the real universe, away from city lights and haze.

A disclaimer

With only a few exceptions, the descriptions here have been contributed by fellow amateur astronomers.  Where possible, information has been independently corroborated, but we cannot vouch for its accuracy or currency.  Use the listed observing sites at your own risk.

All sites are accessible by the public during the night, with few if any restrictions.  If a telephone number or other point of contact is listed, you would do well to give a call before "just showing up," to confirm the site's availability.  And please, whatever you bring with you, please take it away with you when you leave.

Take a look at the map or list below.  States and provinces that have dark-sky sites listed here are shown in red on the map and in bold-face type on the list below.

 

United States

Alabama Hawaii Massachusetts

New Mexico

South Dakota
Alaska Idaho Michigan New York Tennessee
Arizona Illinois Minnesota North Carolina Texas
Arkansas Indiana Mississippi North Dakota Utah
California  Iowa Missouri Ohio   Vermont
Colorado Kansas Montana Oklahoma Virginia
Connecticut Kentucky Nebraska Oregon Washington
Delaware   Louisiana Nevada Pennsylvania West Virginia
Florida Maine New Hampshire Rhode Island Wisconsin
Georgia Maryland New Jersey South Carolina Wyoming
 

Canada

Alberta New Brunswick Nova Scotia Quebec
British Columbia Newfoundland Ontario Saskatchewan
Manitoba Northwest Territories Prince Edward Island Yukon
  

Canadian amateur astronomer Attila Danko's Clear Sky Charts have been added to many of the observing sites listed here. These useful tools use meteorological data from the Canadian Meteorological Centre to predict if and when it will be clear from the site over the next 48 hours. Each clock actually lists three predictions: cloud cover, transparency, and darkness. These appear as three horizontal rows of squares, which vary in color from dark blue to white.

"Cloud" predicts cloud cover, while "tran" forecasts sky transparency. As the scale at the bottom of each clock shows, the darker the blue, the better. White indicates total overcast. The third row, "darkness," shows when the sky will be dark, assuming no light pollution and a clear sky. Black is a dark sky, varying degrees of blue show interference from moonlight or twilight, while white indicates daytime.

The date and times of predictions are shown below the three rows. "Local time" is just that, the local time on your clock or watch, but expressed in 24-hour format (e.g., military time). Note that the hours are stacked vertically.


Will it be clear tonight?  Take a look for yourself. . .

The Canadian Meteorological Centre issues predictions hourly sky transparency for the entire continent.  Click on the hour in the table below that you're interested in.  The table is in UTC (same as Greenwich Mean Time), so adjust accordingly.

Animation 20h 21h 22h 23h 00h 01h 02h 03h 04h
05h 06h 07h 08h 09h 10h 11h 12h 13h 14h
15h 16h 17h 18h 19h 20h 21h 22h 23h 00h

What time is it right now?