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The Night Sky in Joshua Tree National Park

Milky Way and the Night Sky in Joshua Tree National Park

Milky Way and the Night Sky in Joshua Tree National Park

The Leonid meteor showers occur every year around November 17th-18th and I decided to make the crazy 5 hour round trip drive away from the lights of Los Angeles to the dark sky of Joshua Tree National Park in one night. Altogether I saw about 15-20 meteors per hour in the wee hours of the morning. Some look like your typical shooting stars but a few were bright fireballs with long and big streaks. But even without the scheduled meteor shower, the view of the sky from inside the park is spectacular.

This is something we urban dwellers don’t get to see very often — a sky fully peppered with stars normally too dimly lit that they get drowned out by street lights and human activity. Here you have a clear view of the Milky Way — a cloud-like haze that spans much of the sky. You can differentiate different colored stars. You can discern satellites and planets. You can see Mars shining brightly with a distinct orange-yellow glow.

Out here away from the distractions of urban life, you can start to feel the vastness and infinity of the universe.

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Read my post about Packing for a Night Photography or Star Gazing Trip

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