If you love observing outer space and the night sky, there's really only one solution: get away from the city. In the most populated areas, light pollution has made it much more difficult to observe the sky if you want to see anything but a few faint stars with the naked eye.
But if you get away from where people congregate, you'll see a majestic panorama of outer space, filled with billions of stars, the planets and other breathtaking views. If you know where to go, you'll be able to see more stars than you ever thought possible. Here are five of your best options.
The Grand Canyon, Arizona
The Grand Canyon has long been a popular spot for its daytime views, but it has recently obtained dark sky status for its incredible views of outer space and the night sky. The Grand Canyon is situated in northern Arizona, putting it far from the light pollution of Phoenix and Flagstaff. In order to keep the park's dark sky status, you'll need to use a red filter on your flashlights to provide enough light for you to see where you're going while keeping the night sky beautiful for everyone. You can camp at the Canyon, so a great plan is to come during the day for the earthly sights and stay at night to view outer space.
Kissimmee Prairie State Park, Florida
Think Florida's only stars are at the Magic Kingdom? Think again. Just a few miles west of Disney World, stargazers are treated to some amazing views of celestial bodies. The park is 54,000 acres, making it one of the Sunshine State's largest, and it's tucked away from the bustle of Interstate 4. You'll be able to pull out your telescope and see all the stars you like without the worry of light pollution while knowing a big city is less than a half-hour away.
If you want a chance to see the Northern Lights, this is the spot for you to get your views of outer space. Headlands sits just south of Michigan's Upper Peninsula, giving you your best chance to see the celestial phenomenon. Even if you don't get to view the Northern Lights, you'll still be treated to fantastic views of outer space, and the county where Headlands is located bans outdoor lighting, keeping the park perfectly dark.
Big Bend National Park, Texas
They say everything is bigger in Texas, and that apparently includes the national parks, as this park is an immense 800,000 acres. It's also a great place to view outer space and see some of the most unique plants and animals during the day, as more than 1,200 species of plants call this place home. Like the Grand Canyon, it's a great place to visit both day and night.
Canyonlands National Park, Utah
When the Colorado River cut through Arizona to create the Grand Canyon, it didn't stop there. Veer northeast of Arizona, and you'll find Canyonlands in southern Utah, which provides an amazing mix of celestial and terrestrial views from the starlight reflecting off the rocks in the canyon. The contrast crafts an experience you won't soon forget.
There's truly nothing like getting away and seeing all that outer space has to offer. Be sure to check out some of the above dark sky parks to really appreciate the night sky. (For more space info, please click here.)