This story originally appeared in the July 2014 of mental_floss magazine. Subscribe here.
As the comet Swift-Tuttle sweeps around the sun, it leaves a trail of icy meteoroids in its wake. The result? An August full of shooting stars.
1. CHERRY SPRINGS STATE PARK, PENNSYLVANIA
This 48-acre park in Potter County is one of the darkest places east of the Mississippi. The second International Dark Sky Park ever established, it’s so dark that you can see 10,000 stars with your naked eye. In fact, the Milky Way shines so brilliantly here it casts a shadow!
2. PARASHANT INTERNATIONAL NIGHT SKY PROVINCE, ARIZONA
The Southwest knows stars. Places like Natural Bridges in Utah, Big Bend in Texas, and Chaco Culture in New Mexico are all official International Dark Sky Parks, known for their nighttime beauty and educational programs. But the newly minted Parashant Province in northwestern Arizona is the largest. With no paved roads, the 1.05-million-acre desert is one of the most isolated places in the world.
3. THE HEADLANDS, MICHIGAN
The 600-acre strip of old-growth forest along Lake Michigan’s undeveloped shoreline was designated the country’s sixth International Dark Sky Park in 2011. Boasting a silver-tier rating by the International Dark Sky Association, it’s a perfect escape for Detroiters and Chicagoans.