A Dark Sky Park
Wrap-Up Photo Gallery: Live Music & Star Party Photo Gallery
International Dark Sky Park Application for Oracle SP
Below you may download the final Oracle State Park “International Dark Sky Park” (IDSP) Nomination Package in PDF format. The International Dark-Sky Association. (IDA), headquartered in Tucson, Arizona, defines an IDSP as “a public land possessing an exceptional or distinguished quality of starry nights and a nocturnal environment that is specifically protected for its scientific, natural, educational, cultural heritage, and/or public enjoyment.” The goals of the IDSP Program are to:
- Identify, restore, and protect public lands (national, state, provincial, and other parks and notable public lands) with exceptional commitment to, and success in implementing, the ideals of dark sky preservation and outstanding night skies.
- Promote ecotourism;
- Promote protection of nocturnal habitat and human health, public enjoyment of the night sky and its heritage, and/or areas ideal for professional and amateur astronomy;
- Encourage park administrators to recognize dark skies as a valuable resource in need of proactive protection;
- Provide international recognition for such parks;
- Encourage parks and similar public entities to become environmental leaders on dark sky issues by communicating the importance of dark skies to the general public and surrounding communities, and by providing an example of what is possible with proper stewardship.
If you have any questions, feel free to contact Mike Weasner at 520-289-3402 or mweasner(at)mac.com. The final version of the Oracle State Park “International Dark Sky Park” Nomination Package was sent to IDA July 18, 2014.
Chair, Oracle Dark Skies Committee
Application Download (Final Version)
Download Oracle SP IDSP Application ( 17 MB PDF)
Watch 2 Hours in 11 Seconds
Mike Weasner of the Oracle Dark Skies Committee has created a time-lapse film of the dark skies at the park. You can watch 2 hours of the night sky passing by in 11 seconds. There is no audio track to this piece.
Milky Way Rising Over Oracle SP
Mike Weasner of the Oracle Dark Skies Committee with another amazing time-lapse video of the Milky Way rising over Oracle SP. There is no audio track to this piece.
Saturday, June 21 Live Music & Star Party Photo Gallery
Extended June 21 hours 8 am - 10 pm. Live music bagan at 6 pm. Stargazing began at 8 pm. Celebrate the summer solstice at Oracle State Park! Bring your own picnic and enjoy live music by Undercover Band from 6-8 pm. Undercover is a variety dance band from Tucson known for a great sound, playing an eclectic blend of songs and styles from the 60s through today. They cover everything from the Beatles to Van Morrison to the Stones with a little jazz and country thrown in.
Then at 8 pm as the evening sky appears, stargazing with telescopes will begin. Visitors will have the chance to view Mars and Saturn, the asteroids Ceres and Vesta, plus star clusters, nebulae and galaxies. During the evening, the Milky Way will rise over the eastern horizon.
In addition to star-gazing and toe-tapping, the Oracle Dark Skies Committee will be on hand to discuss its work to have Oracle State Park designated a Dark Sky Park by the International Dark Sky Association. The committee also promotes awareness of the importance of dark sky-friendly appropriate outdoor lighting of homes and businesses.
Seating is available, but visitors are encouraged to bring a comfortable outdoor chair, and flashlight. Events are included with park admission of $7 per vehicle. Sponsored by the Friends of Oracle State Park. For additional information please call (520) 896-2425. Learn more about Star Night Parties and watch video
History of the Star Night Party Program at Arizona State Parks
Observe the wonders of the night sky through astronomers’ telescopes at dark sky parks!
The night sky view from Group Use Area at Oracle SP Group (North is at the top, and west is at the right). Photo by Mike Weasner.
Arizona State Parks held its first Star Night Party at Alamo Lake State Park in Wenden on November 22, 2008. Since that event our astronomy and Star Night Party Program has expanded to yearly events and one-off events at 9 Arizona State Park. Out evening programs showcase Arizona's amazing dark skies! At select events, programming also includes special guest speakers from organizations like the Planetary Science Institute in Tucson and the Mount Lemmon Sky Center. Additional partners have included the Arizona Science Center and the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff. Arizona State Parks recognizes the importance of protecting dark skies as a natural resource. Through the help of dedicated and knowledgeable park volunteers and many local Arizona astronomy groups who make this program possible, our Star Night Party Program will continue to grow.
On March 3, 2011, Alamo Lake State Park (with the Astronomers of Verde Valley, AstroVerde.org ) & Kartchner Caverns State Park (with the Huachuca Astronomy Club of Southeast Arizon, (HACAstronomy.com ) were the first state parks in the United States to be granted the "One Star at a Time" award and became a member of the Global Star Park Network. This award acknowledges the public stargazing events held at both parks in an effort to increase awareness of astronomy and preserving dark skies for future generations. The awards were presented by the StarLight Initiative, the One Star at a Time organization and Astronomers Without Borders. The Global Star Park Network aims to protect night environments, educate the public, and improve human habitat.
Now the Oracle Dark Sky Committee (chaired by Mike Weasner of the Cassiopeia Observatory in Oracle) is preparing an application for Oracle State Park to be considered an International Dark Sky Park (silver Tier) through the International Dark-Sky Association. The application process is very involved. Besides dark sky readings, the park has completed a lighting inventory and made improvements to fixtures to be "dark sky" compliant.
Intro to Star Night Parties Video
- Alamo Lake
- Buckskin Mountain
- Cattail Cove
- Lake Havasu
- River Island
- Yuma Quartermaster Depot
- Yuma Territorial Prison
- Dead Horse Ranch
- Fort Verde
- Red Rock
- Riordan Mansion
- Slide Rock
- Verde River Greenway
- Boyce Thompson Arboretum
- Fool Hollow Lake
- Lost Dutchman
- Lyman Lake
- Tonto Natural Bridge