Long crisp nights are the perfect time for stargazing. Go ahead, put yourself in your place, we’re but tiny specks in the universe after all. It’s good for us to feel small sometimes. Better yet, long winter nights are great for seeing winter’s natural fireworks – the aurora . . . if you are lucky. Here is a neat free app that helps aurora lovers improve their luck (iOS / Android). It will alert you to when aurora conditions are better than usual near you.
Of course, we humans make mistakes in our haste for progress, and one of them was covering up the night sky with blinding lights. Owls and all kinds of nocturnal animals don’t like that either. If you want to learn more about what you can do for light pollution, check out some tips from the International Dark Sky Association.
Below are some handy maps for anyone seeking solace in the stars.
The Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth hosts the best and most complete online collection of astronaut photographs of the Earth from 1961 through the present. Found below are several different methods to search through our database.
This map is based on light pollution data updated in 2006 by David Lorenz. Attribution for original 2001 data: P. Cinzano, F. Falchi (University of Padova), C. D. Elvidge (NOAA National Geophysical Data Center, Boulder). Copyright Royal Astronomical Society.
This map shows the positions of locations designated as part of the International Dark Sky Places Program only. It is not a comprehensive map of dark sites generally.