It’s Dark Sky Week. This year, Oregon has more reasons (and ways) to celebrate

Perseids meteor shower from Steens Mountain and Alvord Desert

The Milky Way from the floor of The Alvord Desert.LC- The Oregonian

Oregon is suddenly abuzz with dark skies, a campaign that has naturally led right up to Dark Sky Week.

This year, April 2-8 is not only International Dark Sky Week, a celebration of natural light and the night sky created by nonprofit DarkSky International, it will also be Oregon Dark Sky Week.

Gov. Tina Kotek signed a proclamation last week officially designating Oregon Dark Sky Week for 2024, hailing the ecological, economic and emotional aspects of stargazing.

“The experience of standing beneath a starry night sky inspires feelings of wonder and awe, and encourages the stewardship of our shared environment and our magnificent dark skies,” the proclamation read.

Oregon Dark Sky Week comes on the heels of news about the Oregon Outback International Dark Sky Sanctuary, a 2.5 million-acre swath of southern Oregon that received the new designation from DarkSky International in March. A mix of public and private land, the new sanctuary is home to a number of good stargazing destinations, including Summer Lake Hot Springs and Hart Mountain.

For those itching to celebrate Dark Sky Week this year, here are a few ways to mark the occasion.

dusk with stars in the sky over a building lit from the inside in the distance

Night sky over Summer Lake Hot Springs, outside of Paisley, Oregon, a few days before the height of the Perseid meteor shower.Samantha Swindler


The Oregon Outback International Dark Sky Sanctuary is the biggest such sanctuary in the world, covering nearly half of Lake County in southern Oregon. There’s a lot to explore in that area, including hot springs, campgrounds, alkali lakes and one main town. See our full guide to exploring the newly designated area.


The new sanctuary isn’t Oregon’s only dark sky designation. In 2021, Prineville Reservoir State Park was designated as Oregon’s first and only Dark Sky Park. The state park, found just east of Bend, is home to a year-round campground with 67 campsites and five deluxe cabins. You can reserve a campsite at


The Sunriver Observatory is another Oregon destination with an official designation: In 2020, DarkSky International named it a Dark Sky Place. The observatory, found just south of Bend, will host two of its regular In-Depth Observatory Nighttime Visit events during Dark Sky Week, on April 3 and 6. Guests can also book out space for private star parties at the observatory.

Annular solar eclipse from Southeast Portland 2023

The annular solar eclipse seen through the clouds from Southeast Portland Saturday, Oct. 14, 2023. Mark Graves/The Oregonian


While not exactly a “dark sky” event, the April 8 total solar eclipse is the biggest astronomical event taking during Dark Sky Week. Oregonians won’t be able to see totality, but the partial eclipse should still be a good show. A great place to see it? Our brand new dark sky sanctuary!


The Oregon Museum of Science and Industry is celebrating Dark Sky Week with its regular Starry Nights Live! show, which shows planets, constellations, shooting stars and more inside its Kendall Planetarium. The 30-minute show runs at 1 and 3 p.m. Tuesday-Sunday. Tickets are available at


OK, this might sound crazy, but if you’re really in your Dark Sky era right now, you might want to consider getting a place of your own out in the Oregon Outback. Lake County just so happens to have several homes for sale right now, ranging from humble abodes to five-bedroom homes.

--Jamie Hale covers travel and the outdoors and co-hosts the Peak Northwest podcast. Reach him at 503-294-4077, or @HaleJamesB.

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