Against a backdrop of International Astronomy Day on May 7, Travel Nevada has mapped out the five biggest astrological events of 2022 and the best places to see them in Nevada so that stargazers and explorers can plan their next sky-viewing trip. International Astronomy Day is a day dedicated to natural science and viewing the wonders in the night sky, something that is especially enjoyable in Nevada thanks to its significantly low light pollution. The state is home to some of the last true dark skies in America and one of only seven Dark Sky Sanctuaries in the world.
There are several stargazing hotspots in the Silver State, so professional and amateur astrologers really can’t go wrong wherever they set up their telescopes. However, to help travelers get a truly stellar experience (pun intended), Travel Nevada has paired this year’s major events with some of the state’s most awe-inspiring locations:
- Total Lunar Eclipse & Strawberry Moon at Great Basin National Park – Two of this year’s lunar events, the Total Lunar Eclipse on May 15-16 and the Strawberry Moon on June 14, offer out-of-this-world viewing experiences for aspiring astrologers. Travelers can view both events at Great Basin National Park, designated as one of the darkest places in the Lower 48 by the International Dark Sky Association. This National Park is also considered one of the quietest parks in the U.S. with the lack of big crowds, low light pollution, and Nevada’s second tallest hike-able peak.
- Five Planets for the Viewing Eye at Massacre Rim Dark Sky Sanctuary – From June 18 through June 27, travelers can view Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn assemble a perfect line through the night sky. To view the line of planets in the best way possible, visitors can travel to the Massacre Rim Dark Sky Sanctuary. This sanctuary is one of seven in the entire world, receiving its Dark Sky title in 2019 by the International Dark Sky Association, and is located on the northwestern edge of the Silver State. Locals say during a moonless night, even the stars can cast shadows at this epic stargazing spot.
- Perseid Meteor Shower on the Sunset, Stars & Champagne Train – Have you ever wondered what 150-200 meteors per hour looks like in the dark, clear sky? Then look no further than the Silver State, as the entire state of dark skies will have the Perseid Meteor Shower on full display. This celestial event, starting on July 17 and going through August 24, also aligns with Nevada’s prime-time Milky Way viewing season, where the cloudy, silvery streak across the sky is clear to see. Travelers can relax and enjoy these otherworldly events in the open-aired, interstellar constellation locomotive known as the Nevada Northern Railway’s Sunset, Stars & Champagne Train. Each ticket includes a glass of champagne and a variety of viewing pleasures from East Ely Depot in eastern Nevada to the Steptoe Valley.
- Great Basin Astronomy Festival at Great Basin National Park – Stargazers can make plans now for this 3-day festival, Sept. 22-24, at Great Basin National Park. By day, travelers can explore the park’s alpine lakes, peak-bagging trails, ancient pine coves, and extensive cave system. Then by night, they can learn why locals say, “Half the Park is After Dark,” as Dark Sky Rangers lead presentations and guests can gaze up at the Milky Way with telescopes and learn from the region’s astronomical experts.
Whether visitors experience the glittering skies during one of these dark sky events or all of them, they’ll depart Nevada with an appreciation for perhaps the other reason it’s called the “Silver State.”
To further plan your stargazing experience under the darkest skies in the Lower 48, visit Travel Nevada’s newly designed Stargazing page, where you can check moon phases during your trip and even download the perfect playlist to accompany your starry excursion.
EDITORS: for high-resolution images of Nevada’s best stargazing locations, visit here.
Travel Nevada (the Nevada Division of Tourism) is part of the Nevada Department of Tourism and Cultural Affairs. It is responsible for promoting and marketing Nevada as a travel destination. Operating within a performance-based budget structure, Travel Nevada is funded solely by a percentage of lodging tax paid by overnight guests throughout the state. For more, visitTravelNevada.biz.