"Measurements by the National Park Service Night Sky Team show that the Big Bend Region offers the darkest measured skies in the lower 48 states."
Marathon is located in the remote Big Bend region of West Texas, and has been blessed with the darkest skies in the lower 48 states! Local dark skies can be attributed to our:
Low population density - a community of only 430 full time residents
Geography - located in an ancient sea bed known as the Magnificent Marathon Basin, so we are surrounded by mountains
Elevation over 4000 feet
Marathon measures a CLASS 1 on the Bortle Light Pollution Scale. What does that mean? DARK! As a matter of fact, as dark as it gets without going to space.
Big Bend National Park, located 42 miles south of Marathon, was recently awarded the designation of Gold Tier Dark Sky Park by the International Dark-Sky Association. From the National Park Service's article, IDA Gold Tier Designation:
"The designation of Big Bend National Park (BBNP) as a Gold Tier International Dark Sky Park adds a jewel to the worldwide network of dark sky oases recognized by the International Dark-Sky Association for excellence in night sky stewardship. A Gold Tier designation denotes a sky free from all but the most minor impacts of light pollution, a sight of increasing scarcity in North America. Measurements by the National Park Service Night Sky Team show that the Big Bend Region offers the darkest measured skies in the lower 48 states."
Photo by Matt Harbison
"Unfortunately light pollution is a growing problem. It not only blocks out the stars, but it also wastes energy, is harmful to wildlife, and has been connected to human health problems. Every night many lights are pointlessly left on, wasting money and helping no one. In addition, many lights are poorly shielded so that most of the glow shines upward instead of downward. The good news is this is easy to fix. By turning off unnecessary lights and properly shielding the ones that are necessary, you can help bring back the same night sky that has inspired people for millenia. For more information about light pollution and how to reduce it, visit the International Dark Sky Association."
MARATHON WEATHER, SEEING, AND MOON PHASES