Dark Skies

Image of the dark sky horizon in West Text, Big Bend

Photo credits: Morteza Safataj


Perhaps one of the most-mentioned attributes of the Big Bend is its awe-inspiring starry night sky. Many people never get to see the Milky Way until they head out west, and when they do, it can be a life- changing experience.

Fortunately, the region is home to the McDonald Observatory, and because of this, the seven counties surrounding the observatory have a lighting ordinance that serves to protect the dark skies from wasted up- lighting created by populated areas, as well as oil and gas development. With enforcement of the ordinance both difficult and unpopular, the best method of stopping light pollution is through education and outreach. The BBCA Dark Sky program is focused on education and volunteer training to help spread the word about how everyone can not only save money/energy, but protect the beauty of the starry skies. Some of our efforts include:

  • Educating and training volunteers to identify improvements in our towns and parks
  • Working with Big Bend Ranch State Park to gain Dark Skies certification
 Learn more by visiting the International Dark Sky Alliance at www.darksky.org