Dark Sky Canada – Stargazing Jasper National Park

Dark Sky Canada is a term that refers to the darkest of our Canadian night skies.  When gazing up and beyond our planetary surface to far off objects in outer space, a dark sky is mandatory.  The darker the sky, the better. Think about how many more stars are visible in the mountains compared to the middle of a city.  For the upcoming Perseids Meteor Shower (best viewed on August 12 and 13th), find a ‘dark sky’ region, tilt your head upward and prepare to be awed.  Who knew cosmic dust could look so magical?

In Canada, 11 specific regions are designated Dark Sky Preserves. Jasper National Park, just north of Wild Water Adventure’s RiverBase, is such a preserve (the second largest in the world, in fact!). Being miles and miles from large population centres, very little artificial light exists within the park.  Even the town of Jasper diligently minimizes the amount of light pollution so night skies remain clear and bright for residents and visitors alike.

Where To Star Gaze?

Dark Sky Designation CanadaSo many areas within Banff, Jasper, Kootenay and Yoho national parks are great for star-gazing.  All have vast open spaces with dark skies above. Pick your favourite Rocky Mountain locale to watch the full moon, northern lights, Perseid meteor shower or the ‘everyday’ night sky.  Binoculars will help but are not necessary. With these dark skies, the naked eye sees so much more.  Pack along a cozy sleeping bag and a thermos of hot chocolate to make your night-time adventure that much more comfortable!

Jasper’s Dark Sky Festival

Dark Sky Stargazing Jasper National ParkIf looking for a more extended and in-depth experience, check out the Dark Sky Festival in Jasper later in October.  Guest speakers, astrophotographers and even the Edmonton Symphony present and perform under the stars!

Your time in the Rocky Mountains already involves day-time activities, such as rafting with Wild Water Adventures.  Be sure to put some night-time, dark sky activities on your holiday list, too!

Enjoy your time in the mountains, and happy star-gazing!


Author: Deborah Wade


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