As International Dark Sky Week wraps up it seemed like a good time to reflect on our area and the importance of preserving our dark skies. A great resource to check is the International Dark-Sky Association which offers a lot of educational resources and helpful tips on preservation of our Dark Skies
Southern Utah and Northern Arizona have some of the darkest skies in the county which attract astronomers, professional and hobbyist alike. Two of our Lake Powell communities are havens for night sky watchers. Lake Powell View Estates at Greenehaven on the Arizona side and Big Water on the Utah side. My son, David, has been an avid astrophotographer for the better part of a decade and has managed to capture some amazing shots from our Southern Utah yard!
The previous images are from David Rankin’s website, Rankin Studio. He also has a good deal of telescope information, astrophotography tips, and photos on his RankinStudio Facebook Page ~ follow along!
In 2009 the Desert News in Salt Lake did an article on his astrophotography, called The Universe on a Shoestring.
Light pollution is something most folks don’t consider but here in the Lake Powell area it is one thing we chat about a lot. The Glen Canyon National Recreation Area has had a well – run astronomy program. Educational talks and telescopes available to the public happen at the Wahweap Amphitheater, on the main street in Page, AZ, during events, in local schools, and generally help to raise the public awareness.
The NASA night sky website has a good information page on Glen Canyon NPS efforts around Lake Powell with their stated goal of
Our goal is to educate the public about the importance of dark skies for present and future generations.
There are some exciting dark sky things in the works for this summer. One of the major designers of telescope optics has purchased property on the Utah side of Lake Powell. Another Big Water resident with an observatory hosts “Star Parties” at his home during the summer, and of course, the program from the National Park Service is always a big hit!