The stars at night are big and bright, deep in the heart of dark skies over Texas. ⭐️
As the holiday season draws nearer, Austin is breaking out its annual light displays, like the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center’s Field of Light, the upcoming Austin Water Lantern Festival, and the Trail of Lights.
But even without twinkles from those light displays, you still wouldn’t be able to see the stars over Austin. This story was inspired by one of our Instagram followers, so give us a follow and your story might be next. 👀
You aren’t able to spot stars in the sky in most major cities in the US due to a phenomenon called light pollution, which is the brightening of the sky caused by streetlights and other man-made light sources. Over time, light pollution can disrupt circadian rhythms for plants, animals and humans.
However, once you stray from “The Edge of Night” — a section along I-35 so bright it can be seen from space — there are several communities committed to preventing light pollution. Here’s where you can still see them.
Dripping Springs became an International Dark Sky Community in 2014 — the first city in Texas and sixth in the world to do so. A bit closer to home, the River Hills neighborhood in Westlake has had dark skies since 2017. The City of Fredericksburg joined the roster in 2020.
To qualify, the city must shield all light sources downward and away from the sky, control light wavelength + temperatures, and regulate light emission. It’s Dark Sky status means the stars still shine big and bright at night.
If you’re willing to get out of the city, Central Texas-area parks like the Lost Creek Development, Enchanted Rock, and South Llano River State Park all have visible stars.
You can help reduce light pollution from home by observing the Travis Audubon’s Lights Out hours.
Click here to view a full list of dark sky areas in the Lone Star State.