New data pinpoints dark skies above Mojave Trails National Monument

The Milky Way over Mojave Trails National Monument. Photo: Global Eyes Media
Afton Canyon in Mojave Trails National Monument. Photo: Global Eyes Media


An International Dark Sky Association-recommended Sky Quality Meter (SQM) was used to record sky quality data. Hanel, et. al. (2018) discusses using a handheld SQM as a viable option for long-term studies of night sky brightness. During the year-long study, interns used a Unihedron SQM-L device, Model: 2.19, to measure night quality. Zenith, temperature, weather, and visibility are also recorded. GPS points were taken at each of the locations. Additionally, photos were taken of the night sky using a Canon DSLR camera. Field nights generally consisted of a 6.5-hour work period, followed by an office day to synthesize data.


Mojave Trails National Monument can be placed in consideration as a Dark Sky Sanctuary in almost all locations, as the average magnitudes per square arc second is over 21.5. Overall, the Milky Way, over 1,000 stars, shooting stars, and constellations can be seen throughout the monument.

References and further reading

Bouroussis, Constantinos A., Frangiskos V. Topalis (2018). The effect of the spectral response of measurement instruments in the assessment of night sky brightness. Journal of Quantitative Spectroscopy and Radiative Transfer, 216: 56–69.

Get involved

For the Night Sky project, we are participating in the Globe at Night and Loss of the Night citizen science programs. Why not join in? Our collective information can help our global community study light pollution around the world.



Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Mojave Desert Land Trust

Mojave Desert Land Trust

The Mojave Desert Land Trust is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization protecting lands with natural, scenic, and cultural value within the Mojave Desert.