Canadians get to enjoy something that a lot of the world misses out on: darkness. With a population density somewhere in the range of approximately 9 people per square mile, there’s lots of room left free of light pollution. For example, Jasper National Park, one of Canada’s largest parks, is now formally a ‘Dark Sky Preserve’, with 97% of its 11,228 square kilometers being kept free of artificial light. What that means is that the Jasper National Park is protected from artificial light pollution and the area will maintain standards of education to promote the reduction of light pollution. To put this into perspective, Jasper, now the world’s largest dark sky preserve, is five times larger than the rest of the dark sky preserves put together.
For those of us who are accustomed to the never-ending barrage of well-lit advertisements and distractions, Jasper offers sanity. So, if you’re in the mood for watching a meteor shower, or just want to stand in awe of the sheer beauty of the night sky, Jasper is one of the best, darkest, and most accessible dark sky preserves in the world. For those wanting to make the most of the experience, the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada provides numerous outreach programs about astronomy, and they create many public observing sites in Canada’s dark sky preserves.