Utah is a state with vast and beautiful landscapes, and it is a great place to view the night sky.
The Utah Dark Sky Map is an excellent tool that allows you to explore the different levels of light pollution across the state. With the help of this light pollution map, you can find the perfect spot to stargaze in Utah and marvel at the beauty of the cosmos.
In this article, you get
A Light Pollution Map of Utah showing the dark skies in the state
A look at some of the 24 Dark Sky Places in Utah
A list of some of the best places for stargazing
By the end of the article, you’ll have a thorough understanding of how best to leverage the Utah Dark Sky Map, where to go stargazing, and much more!
Let’s dive right in.
LIGHT POLLUTION MAP (DARK SKY MAP UTAH)
A Utah dark sky map shows the level of light pollution in different areas.
Light pollution is the presence of artificial light in the night sky, which can make it difficult to see the stars and other celestial bodies. A light pollution map Utah is a very helpful tool for us amateur astronomers.
Dark sky maps help you find areas with low levels of light pollution, so you can have a clear view of the night sky. These maps can be helpful for your amateur astronomy pursuits, such as photography or stargazing under the natural beauty of the night sky.
The Utah Light Pollution Map uses data on light pollution levels collected by satellite and ground-based observations using a Sky Quality Meter. This data reveals a chart that shows the distribution of light pollution across the state.
DOES UTAH HAVE THE DARKEST SKIES IN AMERICA?
Utah is known for having some of the darkest skies in the United States, particularly in the southern and eastern parts of the state. However, it is not the darkest state overall.
Many other states have large areas with lower levels of light pollution, such as Colorado, Montana, Wyoming, and parts of Nevada, New Mexico, and Arizona.
These states have large, rural areas far from city lights, making them ideal for stargazing and astrophotography.
Having said that, Utah does have many dark sites, including 24 International Dark Sky Places.
WHERE IS THE DARKEST SKY IN THE STATE OF UTAH?
Utah’s darkest skies are found in the southern and eastern parts of the state, particularly around Capitol Reef National Park, Natural Bridges National Monument, and Arches National Park.
These areas have negligible levels of light pollution, thanks to their remote location and the absence of large cities or towns nearby. The skies in these spots are some of the darkest in the entire country.
If you are interested in seeing the stars and other celestial bodies in all their glory, these are some of the best places to go in Utah.
WHEN CAN YOU SEE THE MILKY WAY IN UTAH?
The Milky Way, the galaxy that contains our solar system, is visible in the night sky throughout the year. However, the best time to see it depends on several factors, including the weather and the phase of the moon.
In Utah, the Milky Way is typically most visible during the spring and fall months, when the weather is clear, and especially during a new moon.
During these times, you should be able to see the Milky Way from most parts of the state, as long as you are in an area with low light pollution.
It is best to go to a location with dark skies to get the best view of the Milky Way.
DARK SKY PLACES IN UTAH
WHAT ARE DARK SKY PLACES?
Dark Sky Places are specific areas recognized by the International Dark-Sky Association (IDA) as having exceptional or distinguished qualities of starry nights and a nocturnal environment.
These places protect and preserve the natural darkness of the night sky and actively work to reduce light pollution.
There are several different types of Dark Sky Places:
- International Dark Sky Parks: public or private parks that have protected areas with exceptional night skies
- International Dark Sky Reserves: protected areas with dark skies and a commitment to preserving them
- International Dark Sky Sanctuaries: protected areas with the darkest skies in the world
Dark Sky Places are designated based on strict guidelines designed to protect the natural darkness of the night sky and reduce light pollution.
HOW MANY ARE DARK SKY PARKS IN UTAH?
Of the 24 International Dark-Sky Places in Utah, 21 are Dark Sky Parks. These Parks are excellent locations for stargazing.
WHERE IS THE BEST PLACE TO GO STARGAZING IN UTAH?
There are many places to go stargazing in Utah. I’ve listed some of the best below.
- Antelope Island State Park
- Bryce Canyon National Park
- Capitol Reef National Park
- Dead Horse Point State Park
- Goosenecks State Park
- Snow Canyon State Park
- Steinaker State Park
I wrote an entirely separate article on visiting Zion National Park during Milky Way Season. Be sure to check that out.
To learn more about Zion Nation Park’s Dark Sky designation, read my article Is Zion a Dark Sky Park?
Utah’s dark skies are a true treasure, offering a breathtaking and unparalleled view of the night sky.
From the awe-inspiring vistas of the Milky Way to the shimmering glow of distant galaxies, the dark skies of Utah offer a window into the vastness and wonder of the universe. Fore more Utah stargazing, read my article Where is the Big Dipper in the Utah Sky?
However, light pollution plagues much of the state and threatens to obscure this natural beauty.
We can ensure that future generations can experience the wonder and majesty of the night sky in all its glory.