Dark Sky Week: Gaze Up Post-Sundown

Make for a low-lit destination, or plan your summer trip to a dark sky fest.

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NOT A MOVIE: It can happen to even the most devoted follower of the after-sundown sky show. One day, you're sitting in a cinema, watching a film set in the deepest pockets of space, and you begin to marvel at all of the stars on screen, and ponder the special effect wizardry that went into the making of the movie. You might even pause, sigh a little, and wish such scenes were true, and then you remember: The universe is rich in stars and nebulae and cosmic wonders, and it is real life, and not simply something we only get to experience via the silver screen. But making a connection with that sort of vast starfield-y expanse that special effects teams excel at creating? It's a bit harder than simply strolling into a movie theater. You'll likely need to find a low-lit spot, away from illumination, to spy the Milky Way in all of its milky-magnificent glory. A good start for seekers is...

INTERNATIONAL DARK SKY WEEK, which is on through Friday, April 28. The week is a time devoted to "...celebration, learning and action!" and it serves to encourage people to head outdoors, in the evening, and look up. You can head to an official Dark Sky Community — there's one in California, in Borrego Springs — or you may find that velvety, nature-by-night spot you love, the one in a state or national park or another stretch of wilderness, in which to mark the week and enjoy the post-sunset sky. There are other ways to get involved, too, with the International Dark Sky Association, if preserving those eternal, low-lit, universe-wise experiences is dear to your heart. Whatever you do, glance up, once or twice, during the week, if only to find a favorite star, and to recall that while the cosmos are definitely dazzling in the movies, they're even more dazzling IRL.

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