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Dark-Sky Sites:





Town:  Elkwater
Observing site: Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park

Address: Route 41, Elkwater, AB

Mailing address: Box 12; Elkwater, AB CANADA T0J 1C0

Park office phone number: (403) 893-3777

Contact person (for observing info): Vance Petriew

Telephone number: (306) 565-3086

URL: and

Restrictions:  Park fees during the summer months.

Directions:  From Medicine Hat, AB, head east on Canadian Route 1 for about 14 miles (23 km), then turn south on Route 41 for about 21 miles (34 km) to Elkwater.  If coming from the area of Havre, Montana, head north on Rt 232 across the border, then continue north on Canadian Route 41 to the park entrance in Elkwater.  Check the map here for exact directions.

Current weather:  

How are the sky conditions?  One of the best observing sites in Canada due to its elevation and lack of mosquitoes.  200+ clear nights a year.  Exceptional nights have a limiting magnitude of 7.5 and one keen-eyed observer reported a naked-eye limiting magnitude of 8.4.

Typical naked-eye magnitude limit on a clear, moonless night:
     At the zenith: 7
     East: 7
     West: 7
     North: 7
     South: 7

Best horizon (direction and approximate altitude cut-off): All horizons visible from the Meadows Campground in Cypress Hills Centre Block. Horizons may vary depending on what part of the park you're in.

Worst horizon (direction and approximate altitude cut-off): Horizons may vary depending on what part of the park you're in.

Comments from contributor:  Cypress Hills Dark-Sky Preserve is made up of 4 parks: Cypress Hills AB - West Block, Cypress Hills SK - West Block, Cypress Hills SK - Centre Block and Fort Walsh National Historic Site.  Together, these parks form the largest dark-sky preserve in North America at 39,600 ha (97,800 acres).  Cypress Hills Centre Block is the home of the annual Saskatchewan Summer Star Party held every year during the new moon weekend in August.  Professional astronomers have considered this site when looking for a place to erect large telescopes.

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