Sadly, most Americans can’t see our galaxy due to light pollution, but you can still celebrate the Milky Way beneath the dark skies of Cook Forest State Park – a great site for stargazing.
The Milky Way, lots of constellations, and several planets are easily visible from open areas in Cook Forest. You don’t even need a telescope (or astronomy binoculars), just clear skies, a weak moon, and a couple of tips. Here are some resources for stargazing in and around Cook Forest:
Cook Forest Stargazing Links:
- ClearDarkSky.com – forecast for sky-viewing quality for thousands of sites, including this direct link to the current astronomy forecast for Cooksburg, the village inside Cook Forest State Park. From the main site, explore light pollution maps and stargazing forecasts for locations across North America.
- this map from LightPollutionMap.info will show you the best areas, locally, and where to avoid setting up your blanket
- Interactive Sky Chart – know which stars you’re seeing! If you have cell or wifi service… if not:
- the Evening Sky Map is an excellent printable guide to the night sky, updated monthly. Download a current PDF for free!
Northwestern Pennsylvania Astronomy Resources:
- IDApgh.org – the Interntational Dark Sky Association, Pittsburgh chapter, has information on events in the area, current dark sky projects, and educational resources.
- Cherry Springs State Park – Pennsylvania’s only “Dark Sky Park,” and the only site in the state recognized by the International Dark-Sky Association, Cherry Springs is a must-stop for stargazers.
- Clarion University, Pierce Planetarium – the physics department hosts frequent star shows in its 40-foot dome – follow their facebook page for upcoming events.
But, before you go, here’s an excellent illustration of the difference darkness makes when stargazing – or, when practicing celestial navigation:
Light pollution threatens wildlife health, disrupts circadian rhythms, derails pollination, and greatly reduces the quality of stargazing. Find out how you can help combat it, and keep our skies dark: