In 2011, Jasper was designated as a Dark Sky Preserve by the Royal Astronomical Society in Canada, due to its limited light pollution that creates ideal conditions for dark sky viewing. 

What is a Dark Sky Preserve?

What is a Dark Sky Preserve?

According to the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, a Dark Sky Preserve as an area in which no artificial lighting is visible, and active measures are in place to educate and promote the reduction of light pollution to the public and nearby municipalities. Sky glow from beyond the borders of the preserve will be of comparable intensity, or less, to that of natural sky glow. 

As a Dark Sky Preserve, Jasper National Park has made a special commitment to protect and preserve the night sky and to reduce or eliminate light pollution in all its forms.

WHAT MAKES JASPER DARK SKY PRESERVE DIFFERENT?

Jasper National Park is one of 17 designated Dark Sky Preserves in Canada. We are the second largest Dark Sky Preserve in the world, and we are the largest accessible Dark Sky Preserve - meaning there’s a town within the limits of the preserve.

 

Jasper Dark Sky Festival Presented by Rocky Mountaineer

Power down. Look up. Jasper's Dark Sky invites stargazing adventurers to get lost in the wonder of one of the world's largest dark sky preserves. As daylight hours begin to recede, October is the ideal time to celebrate the skies with the annual Jasper Dark Sky Festival, an ever-growing celebration aimed at connecting all ages to our universe and beyond.



Highlights from Past Festivals

Share your festival memories with #jasperdarksky


Be Prepared for Dark Sky


MUST-HAVE STARGAZING APPS


POCKET UNIVERSE | IOS | $3.99

Gives you observation tips and quizzes to test your knowledge about what you have seen.

PHOTOPILLS | IOS & ANDROID | $13.99

An amazing all in one photo app that helps you first plan as well as capture night sky photography through your iPhone.

SKYVIEW | IOS & ANDROID | FREE

FREE app that uses the back camera to give you information like the paths of object in the sky and names of the celestial bodies.

STAR CHART | IOS & ANDROID | FREE

FREE app that uses your phone’s compass to locate planets and stars near you.


DARK SKY PHOTOGRAPHY TIPS


TOOLS (FOR SIMPLEST NIGHT SKY CAPTURING CAPABILITIES)

  • Tripod (for camera/smartphone stability during long exposures)
  • Fullframe camera (for better ISO capabilities)
  • Fisheye or wide angle lense (widest view of the sky)
  • Intervalometer (when aiming to shoot startrails with long exposures)
  • An Extra Battery (long exposures may use more battery than you’re used to)

SMARTPHONE TIPS

  • Photopills ($13.99) is an amazing all in one app for the iPhone which includes sun and moon planning, star trails, long exposure calculators, timelapse and virtual reality to help plan where the Milky Way is going to be.
  • To effect shutter speed, get the iPhone app Slow Shutter Cam ($2.79). For Android, try Camera FV5 Lite (Free)
  • Avoid using a flash at all times!
  • Avoid your digital zoom.

DSLR TIPS

  • Exposure should sit around 15-25 sec, longer than 30 sec can start to show very small star trails
  • Set white balance to tungsten or fluorescent (auto balance tends to create an orange night sky)
  • Shoot your photographs in raw format to preserve editing capabilities.

DSLR CAMERA SETTINGS TO START WITH (NO MOON)

  • 25 second exposure f/2.8 ISO 1600
  • 30 second exposure f/4 ISO 1600 (for lens that doesn’t open to f/2.8)
  • 30 second exposure f/2.8 ISO 3200 (for cameras that support higher ISO)


Jasper Star Chart



Dark Sky Blog Posts


 


Want to take a tour of the Jasper night sky? Check out available tours!