When it comes to natural wonders, few can compare to the awe-inspiring sight of the night sky. But in many parts of the world, a good view of the stars is increasingly rare: According to the International Dark-Sky Association, millions of people now live in places where the light pollution has gotten so bad they will never be able to see the Milky Way.
Fortunately, there are still some places to see the stars in full effect. Gizmodo recently spotlighted a timelapse video taken of Dry Tortugas National Park, one of the darkest spots on the U.S. East Coast. Located about 70 miles west of Key West and accessible only by boat or seaplane, the 100-square-mile park offers the chance to see the night sky far from urban light pollution. The park is also home to some stunning scenery, including Fort Jefferson—one of the largest forts ever constructed—as well as crystal-clear waters, coral reefs, and an abundance of sea turtles.
The timelapse was produced by the crowd-funded Skyglow project, which works to highlight the best starscapes in North America and to raise awareness about the effects of urban light pollution. Gizmodo says that, according to Skyglow, night photography isn’t normally allowed in Dry Tortugas National Park, but the project got special permission for this video.
Aside from obscuring our celestials views, light pollution disrupts nocturnal animals, interferes with ecosystems, wastes energy, and harms scientific research. Skyglow also works in collaboration with the International Dark-Sky Association, a non-profit organization “fighting to preserve the night.” You can learn more about the association’s efforts here, and if you’re craving a better view of the night skies, check out their map of Dark Sky Places—sites where the geography and lighting standards combine to create unparalleled havens for beautiful darkness.
Header images via Skyglow Project