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Monday, 31 July 2017 17:12

Stargaze Under a “Dark Sky”

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TASTE News Service, July 31, 2017 — Visitors can enjoy unmatched stargazing opportunities in Greater Palm Springs and its surrounding deserts, thanks to two International Dark Sky Places and a state-of-the-art observatory set to open in 2018.

Less than a one-hour drive from Greater Palm Springs, Joshua Tree National Park will be designated an International Dark Sky Park in August, a distinction the International Dark-Sky Community bestows upon parks that possess “an exceptional or distinguished quality of starry nights and a nocturnal environment that is specifically protected for its scientific, natural, educational, cultural heritage, and/or public enjoyment.”

Joshua Tree National Park has long been a must-visit for stargazers, thanks to its stunning and unobstructed night sky views and ongoing night sky programming.

The park joins nearby Borrego Springs as an International Dark Sky Place. Borrego Springs, less than an hour's drive south of Greater Palm Springs, is one of only 15 Dark Sky Communities in the world and the only Dark Sky Community in California.

According to the International Dark-Sky Community, an International Dark Sky Place “is a town, city, municipality or other legally organized community that has shown exceptional dedication to the preservation of the night sky” and “excel[s] in their efforts to promote responsible lighting and dark sky stewardship.”

As International Dark Sky Places, both Joshua Tree National Park and Borrego Springs offer unparalleled night skies illuminated only by the millions of stars above.

Greater Palm Springs also offers extraordinary night sky views throughout the area's nine cities. A majority of the cities have implemented ordinances in their residential districts to reduce light pollution, preserving the area's nighttime views of starry skies.

Also in Greater Palm Springs, stargazers will soon be able to look at stars through a research-quality telescope at a new observatory in Rancho Mirage. Located next to the Rancho Mirage Public Library, the $3.6 million observatory is set to become a favorite among amateur astronomers, thanks to a rotating dome and open deck area for visitors to set up their own telescopes. The observatory is scheduled to open in early 2018.

 

Editor’s note: If you’re planning a trip to this this part of the world, first visit the Deserts section of Taste California Travel’s Resource Directory. There you will find links to the websites of hundreds of Lodging and Dining options.

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