Have you ever wished on a star? Well, who else does not for at least one in a lifetime? In a night sky with splendid flickering stars, everything seems tranquil and undeniably cozy. That is why it is not a surprise if most people are in love with its beauty. Some enthusiasts are even spending efforts and even money to find a perfect place to stargaze. Today, specific centers specialize in astrological studies like the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).
In Canada, there are a lot of parks that have dark sky preserves. Those are also regulated by the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, a national organization that is continuously studying the advancements related to astronomy. If you are interested in the stars and would love to learn more about such scenic places in Canada, here are some of the recommended places for stargazing.
Jasper National Park, Alberta
With over 11,000 square kilometers, Jasper National Park is the largest astronomy park in Canada and is ranked second largest worldwide. Some even say that it is the “Walt Disney World of Dark Sky Preserves,” and in fact, it is part of the UNESCO’s Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks World Heritage Site. This place is perfect especially for stargazing because of its location that has mountain tops, canyons, hot springs, and glaciers.
Annually, every October, Jasper Dark Sky Festival is hosted by Canadian astronaut Commander Chris Hadfield.
Hopewell Rocks Provincial Park
Located 35 km southwest of Moncton, with twenty standing sea stacks, Hopewell is famous for its tides and natural rock formations in the Bay of Fundy. It is a perfect place to stargaze too, especially on the seashore where visitors can witness the romantic night sky and sea. Here, the surrounding cliffs and enormous pillars are highlighted with the beaming stars. Enjoy the view with someone or a company.
Grasslands National Park, Saskatchewan
Located in Saskatchewan, with 907 square kilometers (350 square miles), Grasslands is the darkest sky preserve in Canada. It has a West Block and East Block that create a perfect site for stargazing, especially the last one. If you want to clear your mind and want solace, it is a vast area with wind ripples a sea of grasses that can accompany anyone while staring into the sky.
Wood Buffalo National Park
If you want to see the milky way, constellations, and the northern lights, Wood Buffalo has it all. Basically, Wood Buffalo is the world’s darkest sky preserve and is only in Canada. The best time to visit the place is around August and September, wherein night durations are long, so it is is indeed a good time to watch stars illuminating the sky. If you can’t grab the said time, December to February is also perfect for stargazing but just prepare thicker apparel because the temperature is colder. You can also enjoy the place because every August, it also hosts Dark Sky Festival.
Bruce Peninsula National Park, Ontario
It is a place wherein massive observatory centers are established with dedicated astronomers. “The Bruce” is a visitors’ choice because it is the shipwreck capital of Canada. There, you can enjoy stargazing along with the impressing lighthouses of Ontario’s Lake Huron. Moreover, ecologists are also conducting public astronomy lights through an observing pad. They also have telescopes and image-stabilized binoculars.
Vermillion lakes, located in Banff National Park, is an excellent choice to take a break from the busy days in town. With surrounded by the marshlands and extensive lakes in the Bow Valley, this place is perfect for watching the sunrise, sunset, seeing wildlife, and walking by the seashore. Vermillion also has exceptional sites like Mount Rundle and Sulphur Mountain.
To maximize the experience while visiting the ecstatic place, visitors can rent bikes around, make hiking trails, and rent a canoe to paddle around the lakes.
Benefits of Stargazing
The glimmering stars in the night sky might be a relaxing view for some, a source of inspiration to every writer, or a field of scientific studies. These are the often activities that people do, but surprisingly, or unconsciously, stargazing has benefits that make anyone befall and keep on looking for it. If you haven’t known the perks of the stars in your health, here are some enlisted facts that will blow your mind.
- Relaxation. Based on the Finnish study, fifteen minutes of sitting in and walking in nature is already good for your being. These days, there are a lot of stressors, especially in the metros, and it is undeniably true that some people forget themselves. Walking by the street under the moonlight after a long day of stressful work is the best quick resort to relaxation. Or if you’re tired enough, can’t walk either, just open the window and stare at the sky and recollect happy thoughts and realizations.
- Boost creativity. If you’re stuck on blank paper, have no appetite for creating music, or are frustrated with your popping colored canvass, taking a break and looking around outside will definitely help you come back in niche again. And if you want something new, try astrophotography activity since it is a new thing these days. But if you’re lacking energy and do not want to move at all, stargazing itself is enough and affordable like what Sander says, “Anyone can do it, and you don’t need expensive equipment.”
- Appreciation. Did you once realize how some small things make someone happy and contented? Well, stargazing has this influential power to make people reflect on their experiences and appreciate the simplest thing in their lives. Like what Sander says, “There are some cool things to see at the moment.” Sometimes, despite the terror stacks of works, you should learn how to take a break and breathe because it will help you, even more, to grow and learn that big things come from the small steps.
- Create Bonds. Walking in the streets or just sitting on the bench with your friends is already perfect, especially in the nighttime. Whether there are visible stars or none at that time, it still creates harmonious bonds between people laughing, sharing stories, or crying from some dismays. There is just an inexplicable comfort that it extracts with the people to reconnect again and make the surroundings even more dramatic, especially to the couples or any man who wants to propose or confess with their dear ones.