Waterton Lakes National Park
International Dark Sky Park
Waterton and Glacier already share a boundary and three joint international designations: International Peace Park, Biosphere Reserve and World Heritage Site.
Now they are the first trans-boundary IDA International Dark Sky Park. This joint effort recognizes the incredibly dark skies found at the two parks and makes a commitment to protecting and preserving these high-quality conditions.
Dark Sky Park status means that the parks - and their communities - are reducing the amount of light that is sent up into the sky at night. This makes them a perfect place to stargaze!
Where to look
Check out these staff favourites for some great dark-sky viewing:
- Cameron Bay - located at the south end of Evergreen Avenue, within walking distance of town.
- Red Rock Parkway - stop at any one of the pullouts to see where the mountains meet the prairie and the sky.
- The Bison Paddock overlook - this spot, just before you leave the park on Highway 6, offers the chance to see the prairie sky in all its glory.
What can I see?
- The Moon: craters and mountains on the surface can be easily seen with binoculars.
- Planets: many of the planets are visible in the sky throughout the year. Be sure to look for Jupiter's moons - there are four.
- Constellations: there are over 80 officially recognized constellations. Start by looking for the seven bright stars of the Big Dipper.
- The Milky Way: our home galaxy, the Milky Way stretches across the sky like a vast river of stars and can be easily seen with the naked eye.
What to bring
Don't have a fancy telescope or an astronomy degree? Don't worry - a few basic items are all you need.
Night sky viewing kit:
- A star chart and/or a planisphere
- A red light for reading your chart (optional)
- A blanket or sleeping bag
- Warm jacket, hat and gloves
- A sense of wonder!
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