Where to Gaze
Perch atop a hill along the northeast’s Glacial Hills Scenic Byway. Or stop in the Flint Hills prairie, where wildlife and rustling tallgrass add magic to pollution-free skies at the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve.
Birds and waterfowl create the soundtrack for pre-sunrise star watches at Quivira National Wildlife Refuge near Stafford, while utter silence accompanies the pastoral scene at western Kansas’ Mount Sunflower, the state’s highest point.
Join the Kansas Astronomical Observers at Fall River State Park near Toronto August 14–15 for their annual star party. Note: For everyone to catch a glimpse of constellations, planets and nebulae, limit or avoid use of white light from phones, flashlights and car headlights.
Photo Ops that Rock
The state’s rock formations provide dramatic silhouettes for night sky shots. The Flint Hills’ Teter Rock in eastern Kansas juts out as a lone tower, while Mushroom Rock State Park in the Smoky Hills southwest of Brookville lends a Martian-like vibe. The Arikaree Breaks in the northwest corner of the state span miles for a cool, craggy panorama.
Give it Your Best Shot
Want to shoot the night sky? A tripod and long shutter speed are musts, says pro Kansas photographer Mickey Shannon. “Setting your ISO higher will help, too,” he says. “Depending on moonlight, anywhere from 1600 to 6400 or even higher.” He always shoots with a wide lens to capture a big swath of night sky, but getting closer with a 50 mm lens works too.
Be sure to put these observatories on your Kansas Bucket List!
Powell Observatory, Louisburg
See moons and planets in stunning detail through one of the largest public telescopes in a five-state area.
Lake Afton Public Observatory, Wichita
No astronaut training is required to journey through space here, thanks to virtual reality experiences.
Farpoint Observatory, Eskridge
More than 600 asteroids have been discovered from this unassuming site next to Mission Valley High School.
Explore more scenic places at https://www.travelks.com/. Make sure you check appropriate websites for these locations for the most up-to-date rules and regulations for stargazers! We can't wait to see your adventures at #ToTheStarsKS!