Light Pollution Map Indiana (2024) Find the Best Spots!

Chris Klein, Amateur Astronomy Advisor

By Chris Klein


Light pollution is an increasing concern for stargazers and astronomers alike, and Indiana is no exception. With urban areas continuously expanding, finding truly dark skies for optimal stargazing becomes more challenging.

Thankfully, light pollution maps help you locate the best spots for observing the night sky in Indiana, leading you to an unforgettable experience of marveling at the stars, constellations, and other celestial wonders.

The Bortle Scale measures the sky’s brightness and identifies dark sky locations. By understanding this scale, you can use light pollution maps to find the perfect spot for astronomy and astrophotography in Indiana.

In a nutshell:

  • Light pollution maps are essential for locating dark sky spots in Indiana for optimal stargazing and astrophotography experiences.
  • Familiarize yourself with the Bortle Scale to better understand sky brightness and find ideal locations in Indiana for observing celestial objects.
  • Indiana offers excellent opportunities for stargazing and astronomy as long as you know where to find the darkest skies using light pollution maps.

In this article, you get to

Discover hidden celestial views with the Light Pollution Map Indiana.

Familiarize yourself with the Bortle Scale to find ideal stargazing locations in Indiana.

Understand the sources and impacts of light pollution in Indiana.

Minimize light pollution by using dark-sky-compliant outdoor lighting and supporting local initiatives.

Utilize the Bortle Scale and light pollution maps effectively for stargazing.

Measure sky brightness using zenith and horizon observations and V band and mags per sq arcsec measurements.

Explore natural sky brightness components such as airglow, zodiacal light, and gegenschein.

Spot fascinating celestial objects and learn about popular stargazing locations in Indiana.

Use light pollution maps and resources to find dark-sky sites and plan your astronomy sessions.

Enhance your stargazing experience through astrophotography techniques and equipment.

By the end of this article, you’ll have a comprehensive understanding of light pollution in Indiana, be equipped with knowledge of the Bortle Scale and light pollution maps, know how to locate optimal stargazing spots, be aware of the impacts of light pollution on astronomy, and have actionable tips to minimize light pollution and enhance your stargazing experience.

Let’s dive right in.

Light Pollution Map Indiana

Indianapolis Light Pollution Map

Sources of Light Pollution

As with other areas, light pollution in Indiana primarily results from artificial light sources such as streetlights, buildings, and vehicle headlights.

Common contributors to light pollution include:

  1. Streetlights: Streetlights, especially those with outdated or inefficient designs, can send light upward and contribute to skyglow.
  2. Building Exterior and Landscape Lighting: Poorly aimed or unnecessary lighting on buildings and landscape features can create light domes and increase sky brightness.
  3. Residential Lighting: Homes with excessive or improperly aimed exterior lighting add to light pollution.
  4. Billboards and Advertising Signage: Bright, illuminated signs contribute to city glow and impact sky brightness.

Impacts on Stargazing

Light pollution in Indiana affects stargazing and amateur astronomy in several ways:

  • Reduced Visibility: The increased sky brightness makes it difficult to see faint celestial objects such as stars, planets, and constellations.
  • Loss of “Dark Sky” Locations: As light pollution spreads, finding suitable dark sky parks and stargazing locations in Indiana is becoming more challenging.
  • Distorted Color Perception: City glow and light domes can alter the colors of the night sky, making it harder to distinguish individual celestial objects.

To minimize light pollution, consider the following steps:

  • Use dark-sky-compliant outdoor lighting, such as fixtures that direct light downward and prevent spillage.
  • Install timers or motion sensors for efficient use of outdoor lighting.
  • Actively promote and support local initiatives to manage and reduce light pollution.

With these measures, you can help preserve the beauty of Indiana’s night sky and make it more accessible for amateur astronomy enthusiasts.

Considering the current light pollution conditions, Clear Sky Charts in Indiana can help you locate the best spots for stargazing. These charts also serve as a gateway to protected dark sky parks, where you can experience spectacular views of the cosmos away from city glow and other sources of light pollution.


My 5-page Stargazing Checklist will enhance your astronomical observations.

Follow this free checklist to navigate the night sky with confidence, clarity, and a sense of preparedness for a rewarding stargazing experience.

Free Stargazing Checklist

Understanding the Bortle Scale

Bortle Scale Chart

The Bortle Scale is a handy tool for amateur astronomers like you to measure the amount of light pollution in a given area. It ranges from 1 (pristine, dark sky) to 9 (inner-city sky).

You might stumble upon light pollution maps in your quest for dark skies. These maps visually represent the varying levels of light pollution, allowing you to quickly identify areas with less artificial light.

Here are a few tips to utilize the Bortle Scale and light pollution maps effectively:

  1. Identify areas close to your location with lower Bortle Scale ratings (blue or green zones).
  2. Plan a stargazing trip or amateur astronomy session in a location with minimal light pollution.
  3. Monitor the map for updates, as light pollution levels can change over time.

Next time you set out to explore the night sky, remember the Bortle Scale and these actionable tips. Soon, you’ll be stargazing like a pro in Indiana’s beautiful dark skies.

Measuring Sky Brightness

Zenith and Horizon Measurements

When exploring the night sky in Indiana, understanding light pollution is essential. One way to measure sky brightness is by observing the zenith – the point directly overhead. Light pollution can also be examined near the horizon, where you might find shadows and differences in brightness.

To help you find the best stargazing spots, check out the light pollution map, which illustrates sky brightness levels using the Bortle scale.

The colors on the map correspond to various degrees of light pollution:

  1. Black: Exceptionally dark skies
  2. Blue: Excellent dark-sky locations
  3. Green: Rural sky, minimal light pollution
  4. Yellow: Suburban to rural transition
  5. Orange: Suburban sky with moderate pollution
  6. Red: Bright suburban sky
  7. White: Inner-city sky

V Band and Mags per Sq Arcsec

While observing the sky, you can use two popular measurements to assess brightness: V band and mags per sq arcsec.

V band refers to the wavelength range used in sky brightness measurements. For example, it is common in professional and amateur astronomy to utilize V-band observations. This method helps you estimate the brightness of celestial objects like stars and galaxies.

Mags per sq arcsec (magnitudes per square arcsecond) is another useful unit for measuring sky brightness. This value indicates how bright a celestial object appears in a particular sky area. Lower numbers mean brighter skies, while higher values indicate darker skies.

To sum up:

  • Use the zenith and horizon observations to determine sky brightness
  • Consult the light pollution map for Indiana before planning your stargazing trip
  • V band and mags per sq arcsec are essential measurements for sky brightness assessments

By keeping these tips in mind, you can find the darkest skies in Indiana for the best possible stargazing experience.

Natural Sky Brightness Components


Airglow is a natural phenomenon that causes the night sky to glow, even without artificial lights. It occurs when atoms and molecules in the Earth’s atmosphere release energy they’ve acquired from the sun. This glowing effect can make it harder to spot faint celestial objects like stars and galaxies. Since airglow varies depending on solar activity, it’s a good idea to check light pollution maps for Indiana to find the best stargazing spots.

Zodiacal Light

Zodiacal light is a faint, diffuse glow visible mainly during twilight. It’s caused by sunlight reflecting off dust particles in the inner solar system. To better observe zodiacal light, find a location far away from city lights and avoid observing during a full moon. It’s seen best during these times:

  • Spring in the west, just after sunset
  • Autumn in the east, just before sunrise


Gegenschein is another natural sky brightness component visible as a faint glow directly opposite the sun. It’s caused by sunlight reflecting off dust particles in the outer solar system. Observing gegenschein is more challenging than seeing zodiacal light, as it’s much fainter and requires an exceptionally dark sky. As with zodiacal light, avoid city lights and full moon nights to increase your chances of spotting this phenomenon.

With a better understanding of these natural sky brightness components, you’re more prepared to embark on your stargazing adventures in Indiana. The next step is to find that perfect spot with minimal light pollution and clear skies.

Stars and Constellations Visibility

Milky Way Oklahoma

Milky Way and its Washed-Out Effects

You may notice that the Milky Way can appear washed out in areas with high light pollution. In Indiana, the Bortle Light Pollution Map identifies dark skies suitable for stargazing.

To improve your view of the Milky Way, try these tips:

  • Seek out darker skies in state parks or national forests.
  • Observe during a moonless night.
  • Use averted vision to spot faint details.

Observing Faint Celestial Objects

Exploring Other Galaxies

In areas with less light pollution, you can spot some fascinating celestial objects in the night sky:

  1. M31 and M33: These are the Andromeda and Triangulum galaxies, respectively. They are visible with the unaided eye under dark skies and are best seen in the late summer and autumn months.
  2. M15: This globular cluster is found in the constellation Pegasus, and it’s easier to observe with a telescope or binoculars.
  3. Ophiuchus: This large constellation contains many interesting objects, including globular clusters, double stars, and nebulae. Look for it during the summer months.

As you explore the night sky in Indiana, be mindful of how limiting magnitude can affect the visibility of faint objects like starlight and airglow. By minimizing light pollution and using proper observing techniques, you’ll be able to enjoy the many wonders of the cosmos.

Astronomy and Astrophotography in Indiana

Indiana offers several dark sky parks and places for stargazing and astrophotography.

A few notable locations include:

  1. Hoosier National Forest
  2. Indiana Dunes National Park
  3. McCormick’s Creek State Park

Visiting these areas helps you avoid light pollution and enjoy clear night sky views.

Observing Planets and Double Stars

To spot planets and double stars, try using a telescope or binoculars. For example, you can view:

  • Jupiter and its intricate cloud bands
  • Saturn, with its majestic rings
  • Double stars like Mizar and Alcor in the Big Dipper

Remember to check the Clear Sky Charts to find the best viewing conditions.

Viewing Variable Stars

Variable stars are stars that change brightness over time. To observe these beautiful celestial bodies:

  1. Choose a variable star
  2. Learn its brightness range and period
  3. Observe its changes over several nights

With patience and the right equipment, you can discover the fascinating world of variable stars in Indiana’s night sky.

Light Pollution Map for Indiana

light pollution map indiana 1

Using the World Atlas and NOAA Data

If you’re an amateur astronomer in Indiana, knowing your light pollution levels is essential for better stargazing. You can use a light pollution map based on data from the World Atlas of Artificial Night Sky Brightness and the NOAA National Geophysical Data Center. This map not only helps you find the darkest spots for stargazing in Indiana but also offers valuable information on the following:

  1. Brightness Levels
  2. Color Codes
  3. Darkest Areas

Using the map, you can identify the best locations for observing the stars, planets, and celestial bodies.

Takeaways for Amateur Astronomers

To make the most out of your stargazing experience, remember these tips:

  • Use the light pollution map to identify the darkest areas for observation in Indiana
  • Refer to Indiana Dark Sky Parks for additional locations with minimal light pollution
  • Note the Zenith Color to gauge the sky’s visibility.

Understanding light pollution and its impact on astronomy is crucial for finding the best spots to enjoy the night sky. Using available resources, such as light pollution maps, you can elevate your amateur astronomy experience and share your knowledge with fellow stargazers.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where can I find a current light pollution map for Indiana?

You can visit the Light Pollution Map website to find a current light pollution map for Indiana. This site provides an interactive map that allows you to explore light pollution levels throughout the state, helping you find the best locations for stargazing and astrophotography.

How does the Bortle scale relate to Indiana’s light pollution?

The Bortle scale is a system used to rate the level of darkness at a particular location. In Indiana, light pollution levels can range from Bortle Class 1 (darkest skies) to Class 9 (brightest urban areas). Using a resource like the ClearDarkSky Light Pollution Map, you can identify the Bortle scale ratings for different locations throughout the state, making finding the best spots for observing the night sky easier.

What is the best app to find dark sky locations in Indiana?

Consider using mobile apps like Dark Sky Finder, Sky Guide, or Night Sky Tools to identify dark sky locations in Indiana. These apps provide interactive maps and light pollution data to help you find the perfect stargazing spots. Always check for the most up-to-date information and user reviews to select the best app.

Where are the top dark sky sites in Indiana?

Top dark sky sites in Indiana include various state parks and other locations that offer minimal light pollution. Some of these places are Brown County State Park, Patoka Lake State Recreation Area, and Mississinewa Lake.

How far do I need to travel from a city in Indiana to avoid light pollution?

To escape light pollution in Indiana, you usually must travel at least 30 to 60 minutes outside city limits. The exact distance depends on your location and the level of darkness you’re seeking. Remember that smaller towns and rural areas often provide better night sky viewing opportunities than urban areas.

Which locations in Indiana offer the best Milky Way viewing?

The best Milky Way viewing locations in Indiana are those with the least light pollution. Try visiting Brown County State Park, Mississinewa Lake, or Patoka Lake State Recreation Area. Additionally, consider visiting during the optimal viewing seasons, generally during late spring to early fall, to maximize your chances of seeing the Milky Way.

Summary: Indiana Dark Sky Map

Thank you for reading my article “Light Pollution Map Indiana.”

Indiana has beautiful landscapes perfect for stargazing, but light pollution can make it hard to find the ideal locations.

Try visiting remote national and state parks to make your stargazing adventures even more magical. These parks not only have minimal light pollution but are also protected from potential sources of light interference. Armed with this information, you’re ready to explore the night skies of Indiana.

  • Prepare for your stargazing trip by consulting the Light Pollution Map.
  • Look for parks and areas with low light pollution ratings on the Indiana Clear Sky Charts.

Remember, the darker the skies, the better the stargazing! Traveling to these prime locations might involve a drive, but it’s worth it. As you gaze up at the stars, you’ll be amazed by the clarity and beauty of the night sky. And who knows? You might even make some unexpected discoveries, from spotting constellations to catching a glimpse of a shooting star.

So, what are you waiting for? Grab a telescope, pack a blanket, and head on an unforgettable adventure in Indiana’s star-filled skies. You’ll be glad you did.

Happy stargazing!

About the Author

Chris Klein, Amateur Astronomy Advisor

Chris Klein is an amateur astronomy advisor, astrophotographer, and entrepreneur. Go here to read his incredible story "From $50,000 in Debt to Award-Winning Photographer Living in Switzerland". If you want to send Chris a quick message, then visit his contact page here.