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VA Dark Skies

Dark Sky Sites in Virginia

Find the darkest skies in Virginia for stargazing, astrophotography, and club events.

VA Nighttime Lights

2019 satellite image showing nighttime lights from the NOAA National Geophysical Data Center.

VA nighttime satellite image

VA Light Pollution

2015 light pollution map showing sky brightness at the zenith from World Atlas data. Colors correspond approximately to the Bortle scale (see sidebar). Gray areas are the darkest skies.

VA light pollution map

VA National Parks

Map showing names of national parks, forests, reserves, and other protected areas that often offer the darkest locations for stargazing.

VA parks map

Darkest Locations in VA

Depending on your gear and what you are looking at, there may be many locations that are dark enough. This table attempts to list the darkest sites possible in from a Bortle/SQM perspective.

      1. Dark site
      2. Bortle scale
      1. James River SP
      2. 2
      1. Monongahela NF
      2. 2
      1. Rappahannock CP
      2. 2
      1. Staunton River SP
      2. 2