Night Sky In Yosemite: There Really Is A Milky Way!

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In many parts of the developed world, the full glory of the night sky is under threat. Wasteful illumination practices from the city to the countryside allow much light to leak into the heavens, dimming the after-hours view. Yosemite National Park is a refuge for many terrestrial wildland phenomena, but its preservation function extends into the firmament. The night sky in Yosemite is still richly dark and star-spangled—a description any nocturnal visitor to Tuolumne Meadows or Glacier Point will find laughably inadequate to match the spectacle. The magnificence of the Milky Way over Yosemite epitomizes the park's value: Two-thirds of Americans can’t see this “galactic river” where they live, by virtue of light pollution.

A Precious and Vulnerable Resource

The National Park Service’s Night Sky Team keeps close tabs on the status of the night sky over America’s national parks. This effort coordinates with a worldwide one, headed by the International Dark-Sky Association, which aims to protect sites minimally affected by light pollution—and to restore some of the night-sky view to more developed areas. After all, light pollution is more easily remedied than most forms of environmental degradation: Turn off the collective switch, and countless more celestial bodies immediately appear above! By prioritizing illumination and modifying light-fixture design, staff at Yosemite are working to convert the park’s artificial lighting to a more efficient system. You can reap the rewards of these efforts on any evening stroll.

Experience the Night Sky in Yosemite

During the summer, guided astronomy programs help you decipher the panorama of stars and planets overhead. These interpretive events take place at spots such as Glacier Point and Tuolumne Meadows, two high-country perches with outstanding prospects of the night sky—worth a visit for self-guided stargazing, too. We’re lucky to have wild places such as Yosemite in which to appreciate how sublime the Earth’s nighttime view can be unmarred by light pollution. Perhaps a visit to the park will inspire you to pursue dark-sky efforts back home!

Make Your Reservations Today

If you’d love to see the night sky in Yosemite this year, consider making your reservations with Yosemite’s Scenic Wonders. We offer Yosemite reservations within the gates of the park and right near beautiful Glacier Point. With one of our cozy cabins, condominiums, or homes, your Yosemite accommodations will be just minutes from Glacier Point and the dark night sky. Give us a call at 1-888-YOSEMITE (1-888-967-3648) to learn about our rentals and to make your Yosemite reservations today.

Yosemite National Park Blog

Scenic Wonders’ Yosemite blog provides the latest news related to Yosemite National Park.  By reading our blog, you’ll stay up to date on activities, accommodations, and more. Photo credit: nimishgogri

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