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  • Writer's pictureHailey @aspenhousegalena

The Dark Skies at the Aspen House are a Must See!

The land surrounding the Aspen House is certified IDA (International Dark Skies) Development. When you stay be sure to step outside at night and feast your eyes on the night sky.

Our ancestors would have probably never guessed that some day the sky would never darken. That the stars they used to navigate their world would someday be blotted out.

Here we are in 2022 and thankfully there are pockets of the world where we can still experience a night sky without interruption. The Galena Territories is one such place. The Territories received their dark sky friendly Development of Distinction Award in 2021. According to Zoran Perovanovich, Northwest Illinois IDA Chapter representative "One of the unique features of The Galena Territory rural region is the quality of the night sky with magnitude 5 stars and a Bortle scale of 3 (SQM 21) every month of the year."

In order to preserve the night sky from artificial light (this includes light trespass, glare and skyglow) guests and residents of the Territories are asked to limit their use of unnecessary outdoor lighting. For this reason the outdoor lights at the Aspen House are on a timer and will shut off automatically at 1:00am.

Heading #2: What is the best way to experience the night sky?

Heading #3: More resources for stargazing around Galena


Why are dark skies important?

You may find yourself asking this question. According to" A night sky without artificial light is vital to the proper functioning of natural ecosystems. Artificial lighting affects species migration patterns, predator-prey relationships, and the circadian rhythms of many organisms" Not to mention the physical, mental, and spiritual impact spending time constantly surrounded by light can have on humans. The 2017 Nobel Prize in Physiology of Medicine was awarded to a group whose discoveries showed that the human body requires natural daylight rhythms and darkness at night to stay healthy, and subsequent studies have linked increasing light pollution to increased rates of certain cancers. Check out more about the necessity of dark skies in our lives here:

What is the best way to experience the night sky?

There is no right or wrong way to star gaze. At the Aspen House it's as easy as walking out the front door. You don't have to lay a blanket out in the grass or set up a telescope. Sometimes it just means stopping for 5 minutes after you arrive in the driveway and looking up. Or pausing during Fido's last potty walk and taking a few minutes to really look at what is surrounding you.

However you choose to enjoy the night sky at the Aspen House I promise it will be memorable.

Are you daydreaming about stars yet?

If I have peaked your interest in the night sky there are other opportunities to experience it. Jo Daviess Conservation Foundation will be hosting their annual Meteors on the Mound event August 13th from 8p-11pm. You can find out more about it here:

Summer, winter, spring or fall the folks at Visit Galena have some wonderful ideas for catching some night sky. You can see their ideas and resources here:

Finally, there are monthly opportunities to bring your own telescope at the GTA, you can find more here:

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