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Flagstaff’s commitment to stargazing is supported with light restrictions making it the ideal destination to explore the night skies.
On October 24th, 2001, the City of Flagstaff became the World’s First “International Dark Sky City” a designation awarded by the International Dark Sky Association. Flagstaff’s low light pollution and commitment to enforcing stargazing-friendly lighting restrictions make it the ideal destination to explore the night skies.
Long before Flagstaff received this recognition in 2001, world-renowned astronomers had already discovered that this beautiful town in the mountains was perfect for astronomy. Founded in 1894 by Percival Lowell, Lowell Observatory is still an active astronomical research facility and welcomes visitors year-round for tours and telescope viewing. In 1989 innovative lighting codes were developed for Flagstaff and Coconino County that were the first to restrict the amount of light permitted in outdoor lighting. These codes aide in minimizing artificial sky glow and glare and conserve energy with a goal of protecting the nighttime environment.
Why else is Flagstaff such a great astronomy destination? Once upon a time, a meteorite collided with Earth about 42 miles away from downtown Flagstaff, and it left us with a giant Meteor Crater! You can still go check out the impact site today, where it's preserved for US astronaut training, tours, and space education.