Among stargazers, creating light pollution is the equivalent of throwing trash out of a car window. That’s why the streetlights in Borrego Springs are subtle, not glaring, and the local airport has adjusted its aircraft beacon to angle downward. The town’s residents like to see their skies illuminated by millions of bright stars, and they plan to keep it that way. Borrego Springs is the first International Dark Sky Community in California, having earned that distinction by restricting and modifying lights on public streets, outside of businesses, and even on residents’ front porches. It doesn’t hurt to have a high mountain range between here and the big, bright cities and towns of Southern California, plus 600,000 acres/242,811 hectares of undeveloped Anza-Borrego Desert State Park all around.
If you’d like to school up on what you’re seeing, schedule an evening under the stars with astronomer Dennis Mammana of Borrego Night Sky Tours. The Springs at Borrego, an RV resort with a small observatory housing an 11-inch diameter telescope, holds public viewings and lectures several times a year. In April, take part in even more events during Dark Sky Week.