Hipcamp recently revealed the first-ever Dark Skies Map for adventurers and amateur astronomers to find campsites where the stars will shine the brightest.
Almost 90 percent of adult Americans watched August’s solar eclipse—that’s twice as many viewers as the Super Bowl draws in each year. A huge chunk of these eclipse chasers (about 38,000, to be specific) swarmed Hipcamp’s Eclipse Path of Totality campsite map to find a good viewing spot, making it clear that astronomical events are a big driver for getting people outside.
“With more people living in urban areas than ever, finding places to reconnect with nature is becoming more difficult, but also more popular,” says Hipcamp’s founder and CEO, Alyssa Ravasio.
It’s true: only 20 percent of Americans can see the Milky Way from their house, and those who can’t might not know where to look—until now.
That’s where Hipcamp’s Dark Sky Map comes in, overlying the International Dark-Sky Association’s light pollution data on Hipcamp’s campsite inventory, the most comprehensive database for campgrounds in the country. The result? A handy, easy-to-use map for campers in pursuit of starry skies.
And glimpsing the Big Dipper is just one perk of escaping light pollution—you’ll get a better night’s sleep and lower your anxiety levels, according to science. The loss of dark skies has been tied to real physiological and biological effects, disrupting the rhythms of natural ecosystems across the planet.
“We hope that this map not only makes it simpler for people to go camping under the stars, but also raises awareness about the threat that our skies are under and the value they hold for humans and the rest of nature,” said Ravasio.
Cover photo by NASA.
 215 Million Americans Watched the Solar Eclipse, Study Finds (New York Times)
 80 Percent of Americans Can’t See the Milky Way Anymore (National Geographic)
 Illuminating the Effects of Light Pollution (New York Times)
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