Antelope Island is a wonder-some Utah State Park, offering so much exploring to adventurers. You can see wildlife galloping across the ‘wild-west’ island and escape on their white sand beach, but did you know if you wait till night falls you can experience a whole other world? You just have to look up.
What does it mean to be a Dark Sky Park? Well, you can’t just assume a park has this certification because it’s in the wilderness. Antelope Island had to make a conscious effort to omit as much light pollution as they could, to offer the stars to shine. And what is light pollution? Excessive use of artificial light, including glare – visual discomfort from excessive brightness, urban sky glow – the brightening of the night sky from artificial light over inhabited areas, and light trespass – light falling where it is not intended, wanted, or needed.
Antelope Island went through a check list of requirements in order to get this designation, making sure that artificial light is only used when and were it’s needed. They had to make sure all lights on the island are shielded and directing the light directly downward. Also, the artificial lighting needs to be a warm light bulb at minimum strength. So getting the Dark Sky Park designation required altering light fixtures for months and a lengthy application process. The island was not alone in their efforts to become a Dark Sky Park – the Ogden Astronomical Society, Friends of Antelope Island, and Davis County, all supported the cause.
Antelope Island was the 9th Dark Sky designation in Utah, meaning Utah has more Dark Sky Parks than any other state, providence, or region in the world!
Additionally, Antelope Island is 3rd in the U.S. to be an Urban Adjacent Dark Sky Park. That’s impressive because urban parks normally have much more light pollution. There are now two in Utah – North Fork Park in Weber County, and Antelope Island.
People often travel great distances to see a starry night sky, but since Antelope Island State Park is less than an hour from Salt Lake City, it’s easy to experience dark skies and starry nights.
There are a number of Dark Sky activities you can participate in on Antelope Island. Check their events list on their website for regular Star Parties. You can try your hand at astrophotography. Or just simply enjoy the Milky Way and stargaze on Antelope Island.