Previously, we’ve reported that Dripping Springs has the distinction of being the first International Dark Sky Community in Texas and the world’s sixth Dark Sky Community. And now it has added a new International Dark Sky Park Designation in Milton Reimers Ranch Park.
What Is the Dark Sky Park Designation?
The International Dark-Sky Association (IDA) is on a mission to protect the night sky from light pollution. Founded in 2001, the International Dark Sky Places (IDSP) Program recognizes legally organized places that adopt a high-quality outdoor lighting ordinance.
Additionally, such cities also take steps to educate residents about the importance of dark skies and preventing light pollution. This ensures residents and tourists can watch and admire the night sky without any distraction from light pollution. With Milton Reimers Ranch Park making the list, Dripping Springs is becoming the place to go for stargazing.
About Milton Reimers Park
Not only can you find a great place to observe the sky but also visit Reimers Observatory in the park. It’s an educational astronomical observatory that holds around 100 astronomy programs every year. Attendees learn about the sky glow that’s visible from Austin and San Antonio as well as about the hazardous effects of light pollution. To attend a program, please make a reservation as it’s required.
The observatory houses two large telescopes, one that’s 25-inches in diameter and the other 15 inches. To earn the Dark Sky Park designation, the park had to meet multiple criteria including implementing responsible outdoor lighting practices. This helps minimize the effects of lighting on nocturnal wildlife and the local neighborhood while preserving the gorgeous views of the night sky.
The 2,427-acre park is managed by the Travis County Parks System that works to preserve its natural habitat. The park contains an abundance of native Hill Country animals and plants. Visitors from all around come to hike, fish, rock climb, bike, swim, watch birds, and ride horses.
If you need light while stargazing, make it a red light. This is easy to do by putting a piece of red cellophane over the flashlight of a regular flashlight or even your phone. The reason for red is because it’s easier on the eyes. Otherwise, white and blue can force your eyes to readjust to the dark.
You might also want to look into stargazing apps like Stellarium, Google Sky Map, or Starwalk. You can even spot the International Space Station on occasion. To find out the best time to look for the ISS, visit NASA’s Spot the Station website. Enjoy stargazing in Dripping Springs!
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