Dark Skies are hard to find

Richard Charpentier Adventure, Airstream Blogs, Arizona, National Monuments of the Southwest, RV, Travel Leave a Comment

Organ Pipe Airstream

Our campsite at Organ Pipe National Monument

So here we are at Organ Pipe National Monument.  Close to the US / Mexico border.  In the middle of the desert without large cities in the area.  And still, finding truly dark skies here isn’t an easy task.

Several months ago we spent some time boondocking at Hovenweep National Monument.  While there I produced a few favorite images with the Milkyway in them.  Hovenweep is a great “dark sky” location.  And I figured that Organ Pipe would be a great one too….but not quite.

Lacking dark skies

Ah the orange glow on the horizon, and a washed out Milkyway band

After a few nights of trying to work in the park area, we’ve realized that getting a really clean Milkyway shot isn’t so easy.  Shooting south, the lights from the border and border town, Lukeville, ruin the horizon.  An orange glow creeps up into the dark night sky.

Shooting toward the north we have a similar issue.   That orange glow on the horizon.  The nearest “large” town, Ajo, is a good distance away, but still the glow is there.

Finally, evening shots in the actual camping area are a little difficult too.  The restrooms are all lit into the night.  Staying up past 10 pm the other night (official park quiet hours) we found the bathrooms were still lit.  So there’s a ton of light pollution within the park.

Fortunately tomorrow when we head out of Organ Pipe we’ll be going to a park known for great dark skies.  With luck we’ll capture another fun Milkyway image.

The visit to Organ Pipe (the second one in under 2 months) has been good.  We’ve collected more information on the area, and I’m looking forward to doing the whole write up over at Living in Tin.  Some great images have been captured in the past few days, and I’m also looking forward to adding those to the article as well.  And we’ve met some really nice RV’ers throughout the park.  It’s been a good time to be sure.  Just no dark skies, and that’s okay as there’s plenty to do during the day.

Finally, great to catch up with Bert & Janie once again.  If I didn’t have my yearly winter visit with them….well, it just wouldn’t be the same type of Airstreaming!  🙂


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