Dinosaur National Monument Named Dark Sky Park, Ideal For Stargazers

Friday, April 26, 2019

Dinosaur National Monument and the International Dark Sky Association announced the designation of Dinosaur as an International Dark Sky Park. Courtesy photo

Moffat County’s Dinosaur National Monument has been given a designation that could attract planet-watchers and stargazers from around the world.

The National Park Service announced that Dinosaur National Monument is an International Dark Sky Park, a designation that recognizes the skies above Dinosaur to have low light pollution ideal for sky watching.

“We are proud of this accomplishment,” Dinosaur Superintendent Paul Scolari was quoted as saying in a news release. “And we’re committed to continuing to work with surrounding communities to uphold the high standard set by the IDA in order to protect the magnificence of the night sky in our region moving forward.”

Dinosaur is now the fifth internationally recognized Dark Sky Park in Colorado, and its location between Denver and Salt Lake City puts it within a day’s drive of millions of people who can no longer see the Milky Way from their backyards because of increased light pollution, according to the release.

“Visitors from around the world are finding that star-filled skies at Dinosaur are often as novel and awe-inspiring as fossil-filled rocks,” Park Ranger Sonya Popelka said.

“Our goal is to invite everyone to learn about and enjoy the benefits of nights without too much artificial light,” she said. “And with a few simple tips for adopting night-sky friendly lighting in their own communities, they can bring that starry view home with them.” 

The monument will have plenty of sky-watching opportunities this year:

  • May 4: Tour of the sky from 9 to 10 p.m. outside the Quarry Exhibit Hall. Participate in dark sky measurements as citizen scientists and evaluate outdoor lighting options.
  • June 8: Stargazing program at the Gates of Lodore
  • June 17: Full-moon hike in Echo Park to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the John Wesley Powell expedition
  • Find more events at nps.gov/dino.

“Our ranger staff is developing a terrific program lineup,” Scolari said. “So, when the sun starts to scorch, come out to Dinosaur on a cool night and check out the marvels the sky has to offer.”

This story is from CraigDailyPress.com.