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Death Valley National Park Stargazing

Death Valley National Park is an excellent place for stargazing, the darkest out of all National Parks. Low light pollution levels and frequently cloudless skies allow professionals and amateurs to see many heavenly bodies after dark. Although the skies are fairly dark compared to skies in more populated areas of the United States, they are affected by a noticeable glows from Las Vegas and the central valley. Although the National Park Service has limited influence over the neon glows of Las Vegas, it is trying to reduce the amount of local light pollution. National Parks can do this by using outdoor light fixtures that direct light to the ground rather than sideways or upwards, and by eliminating outdoor lighting where it is unnecessary. A plan for doing so is currently being developed at Death Valley National Park. Collecting data on the current state and general trends of nighttime visibility is also important to solving the problem of light pollution. To this end, night sky conditions are monitored at the park annually by a traveling team of scientists.

  • Sightseeing by personal auto, 4-wheel drive, bicycle, mountain bike (established roadways only), hiking, and camping.
  • Join a ranger November through April for an Interpretive Program such as a talk, walk, guided hike, or evening program.
  • Join a ranger for a costumed living history tour (fee) of the historic Death Valley Scotty's Castle.

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