Arizona is known for clear, dark skies, which makes the State an excellent place to see the Milky Way, including planets like Jupiter and Saturn. Some of the best star gazing around can be done right here in Williams, AZ. And that’s no coincidence! Coconino County’s dark sky ordinance is designed to protect that experience by limiting light pollution in the sky and public areas.
In 1988, two Tucson, AZ residents—amateur stargazer Tim Hunter and professional astronomer David Crawford—teamed up to found the International Dark-Sky Association (IDA). Now present in 18 countries, the organization is best known for its International Dark Sky Places program, which recognizes sites around the world that are using “responsible lighting policies and public education” to preserve and protect night skies.
Flagstaff, AZ’s Lowell Observatory was built in 1864 and is among the oldest in the country. The historic museum hosts a wide range of programs and tours. If you have time during your trip here at the Grand Canyon, we recommend you check it out!
Your smartphone can enhance your sky viewing experience. Stargazing apps can use your location and augment reality to exhibit a detailed map of what’s overhead. Some of the best reviewed paid apps include Sky Guide, Star Walk 2, GoSkyWatch Planetarium, and Sky Safari. For a free app, there is a lite version of SkyView.