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Block Island Ferry

Block Island, A Stargazer’s Paradise

As much as its fun and beauty attract visitors during the daylight hours, Block Island also beckons stargazers with its pristine beaches, rolling hills, and captivating night skies. As the sun dips below the horizon, a celestial symphony unfolds, inviting us to explore the cosmos. Unlike many coastal destinations, Block Island boasts minimal light pollution, making it one of the darkest areas in the state.

It is a prime location for witnessing the awe-inspiring Milky Way galaxy in all its glory. On a clear night, away from village lights, simply lie down on the sands of Crescent or Coast Guard Beach and let the celestial show begin. Join us on a journey to this stargazing paradise, where constellations come alive, meteors streak across the sky, and the Milky Way spills its secrets.

Tips for a Stellar Night

Before you walk out into the dark, there are a few things to keep in mind when stargazing on the island:

Check the forecast: Choose a clear, moonless night for optimal viewing.

Pack warmer clothes: Nights can get chilly, even in summer.

Minimize light pollution: Turn off flashlights and use red-filtered headlamps, if available.

Adjust your eyes: Give your eyes 15-20 minutes to completely adjust to the darkness.

Be patient: Calm yourself and give into the moment. The wonders of the night sky will gradually unfold for you.

Respect the environment: Minimize noise and light pollution so everyone can enjoy the night sky.

Respect the residents: Stick to the public areas and don’t wander onto private property.

Be safe: Be aware of your surroundings and take special care along the shore and more precarious areas of the island, such as Mohegan Bluffs.

Discovering Mythological Wonders

With minimal light interference, even beginner stargazers can identify constellations with ease. Download a stargazing app or bring a star chart and embark on a galactic treasure hunt. Spot the Big Dipper, part of the Big Bear constellation Ursa Major, guiding you North. Locate the Cassiopeia, a celestial queen adorning the sky. Seek out the majestic Orion, easily recognized by his three bright stars forming a belt. With every twinkling gem identified, the night sky transforms into a world of wonder, whispering stories of mythology and adventure.

Celestial Fireworks

Block Island hosts several meteor showers throughout the year. In August, the Perseids dazzle us with their fiery trails. The peak of the season will be around August 12 this year. Find a cozy spot on the bluffs, lie back, and watch as shooting stars streak across the canvas of night. Don’t forget to make a wish—it might just come true.

The Dance of Planets

When you are looking up at the night sky, know that you’re not just looking at stars but also planets in our solar system. While both appear to be pinpricks of light to the naked eye, there is an easy trick to differentiate them: stars twinkle and planets don’t. Jupiter and Saturn, the giants of our solar system, often grace Block Island’s skies. Their cosmic dance—sometimes close, sometimes distant—enchants stargazers. With a telescope, you can even spy Jupiter’s cloud bands and Saturn’s majestic rings!

Moonlit Nights

Don’t overlook the moon, though! Block Island’s moonrises are magical. As it ascends, the landscape will be magically transformed by its silvery glow. Explore the Mohegan Bluffs or North Light—the moon’s reflection on the water creates a surreal scene. During a full moon, take a moonlit hike to the Southeast Lighthouse—the view is otherworldly. Later in 2023, we will also be graced by 3 separate Supermoons, when the satellite is about 30,000 km closer to the Earth than normal and appears 10% bigger. This amazing event can be witnessed on September 18, October 17, and November 15.

Block Island invites us to look up—to ponder our place in the vast cosmos. As we trace the constellations, we connect with generations of dreamers who gazed at the same stars. So, pack your curiosity, leave the city lights behind, and let the universe unfold above you.

Make a wish and Sail Away…