5 of the last places in the U.S. where you can still see the stars
If you borrow a scientist's atlas and drive out into the American wilderness, you can still find the Milky Way.
Thanks to artificial light, 99 percent of Americans (and Europeans) live under light-polluted skies. A group of scientists from Germany, Israel, Italy and the U.S. published a study saying so, which we wrote about in September.
On the “bright” side, there are still plenty of places around the world to stargaze ... and even a few in the U.S. We superimposed the scientists' new atlas onto Google Maps so we could find these star-filled places. Here's what we discovered.
Glacier Point in California
The National Park Service suggests bringing a star chart if you're coming to Glacier Point. (Photo: jason jenkins/Flickr)
This viewpoint in Yosemite National Park is 7,214 feet above sea level, making it an excellent spot for seeing stars.
These stars are "so dense they appear to be dark and devoid of light, making up intricate patterns within the sky," explained photographer Jason Jenkins. "I shot this image ... far from light pollution."
Stanley Lake in Idaho
The lake features boating, canoeing, kayaking, water skiing and fishing. (Photo: Charles Knowles/Flickr)
Stanley Lake lies at the foothill of Idaho's Sawtooth Mountains. Anytime you've got a lake next to a mountain, you know you've hit the landscape jackpot. This is one of those places that encourages camping, making it great for travelers who are into camping in gorgeous places and artists looking for inspiration.
"Painters and photographers frequent the overlook to capture the views," explained Recreation.gov.
Steens Mountain in Oregon
Steens Mountain has wilderness, wild rivers and historically preserved ranches. (Photo: Bureau of Land Management/Flickr)
"Parts of southeast Oregon are among the most remote in America. There are opportunities on public lands for authentic and seemingly infinite solitude. And Steens Mountain is the rock star of this region’s remoteness," wrote the Bureau of Land Management, which took the above photograph.
"There is also nothing like watching the sun rise, or witnessing a passing star fly through the Milky Way, from your tent that is parked at 8,000 feet elevation and a long ways from the nearest billboard."
Devil's Garden in Utah
The Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument is bigger than the state of Delaware. (Photo: John Fowler/Flickr)
These two odd rock structures come from the Devil's Garden area of Utah's Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, a desert area filled with unusual sandstone rock structures.
It's a "miniature wonderland of Navajo Sandstone hoodoos, domes, narrow passages and small arches, hidden from the view of drivers along Hole-in-the-Rock Road," explained travel site VisitUtah.com.
The Grand Canyon in Arizona
The photographer took this photo on a freezing January night. (Photo: Justin Kern/Flickr)
This list wouldn't be complete without including the Grand Canyon. Photographer Justin Kern took this photo while hiking the canyon's Bright Angel Trail in Arizona.
"I lost track of time," remembered Kern. "I was enthralled by the clouds whipping over the canyon and by the stars wheeling overhead. I was working to capture the heavens spinning above the canyon and I was transported back to standing in my parents' backyard as a kid with my father and siblings, looking at the moon, looking at Mars and Saturn through the eyepiece of a telescope ..."
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