Nighttime at Under Canvas brings out a sight few of us see anymore: a sky bursting with billions of stars. The dark skies at our camps are the perfect setting to learn the art of stargazing and soak up the very special experience of sleeping under a blanket of stars that only the great outdoors can offer. You don’t even need a telescope to practice astronomy at our camps. All you need to start is the naked eye: ID-ing the constellations and brightest stars. Now located near four International Dark Sky Parks—Arches National Park, Canyonlands National Park, Grand Canyon National Park, and newly designated Zion National Park—Under Canvas Moab, Under Canvas Grand Canyon, and Under Canvas Zion in particular offer especially epic night-sky viewing.
Founded in 2001, the International Dark Sky Places Program preserves and protects these stunning dark sites through environmentally responsible outdoor lighting and community education. Joining the dark sky movement, Under Canvas camps are designed to minimize disturbance and maximize open space—utilizing low level lighting throughout all of our camps to help mitigate light pollution and amplify the night sky. While at camp, guests will notice our unique outdoor lighting and will also be given low-light USB charged lanterns to light the way as they explore under the stars.
This summer there are quite a few opportunities to catch the night sky in all its glory while at Under Canvas. The Perseids, a popular annual meteor shower, will peak just a few nights after the New Moon. With the crescent moon being smaller and setting early in the evening (and before peak viewing hours) this year—the skies will be dark enough to show an estimated 60-100 shooting stars every hour! Active from July 17th through August 26th this special event will be at its peak August 11-12th! While the Perseid Meteor shower is arguably this summer’s standout night sky event, there are a few others worth planning your Under Canvas stay around:
- The Milky Way. The center of our galaxy shows itself each summer, emerging after dark throughout July with its arc in full effect across the night sky in August. You just need a pitch-black (and clear) sky close to the New Moon for ideal viewing! The weeks of July 10th, August 8th, and September 7th, 2021 will provide the best luck.
- A Blue Moon. This astrological event only happens once every couple of years so it’s a prime time to step outside on August 22nd and see the extra full celestial event with us. Something you only have the chance to experience once in a blue moon!
- A Harvest Moon. The “Harvest Moon” is the most famous of all the full moon events. Rising closest to the September equinox this will be the fourth of 2021 and the final notable night-sky sight of this summer.
We always suggest checking time and dates for the most up-to-date and location-specific information, depending on which Under Canvas location you’ll be visiting. According to Forbes’ recommendation, online planetariums like Stellarium and planet-rise/planet-set, sunrise/sunset and moonrise/moonset are great online platforms to consult prior to your stay.
For those night-sky lovers in search of an elevated experience, our Stargazer tents offer prime positioning to enjoy these events. With all the luxuries of our Deluxe Tent, plus a viewing window above the king bed—you’ll enjoy a private ensuite bathroom, wood-burning stove and private deck. Sit out on your private deck’s lounge chairs before snuggling up in your plush king bed with luxurious linens to watch the main event in the sky. Whether you’re an avid stargazer or a beginner fascinated by the phenomena, an Under Canvas stay is ideal for a stellar night-sky experience!