Stargazing at Ambiente

Sedona is the rare city that’s ideal for stargazing. Dark and clear nights, no light pollution, and thinner air (thanks to a high elevation of approximately 4500 feet above sea level), make stargazing Sedona as easy as looking up. Seeing a night sky like this for the first time is breathtakingly beautiful. Constantly changing, the sky sparkles with myriad constellations, the Milky Way, and sometimes meteor showers and shooting stars make an appearance. Occasionally, the aurora borealis is visible when there’s a geomagnetic storm. Northern Lights Sedona Arizona is a colorful and spectacular site.

A Dark Sky Community since 2014, Sedona is committed to preserving the night sky by eliminating light pollution caused by glare from artificial lighting. Unnatural light disrupts wildlife and nature’s rhythm of day and night. While man-made lights brighten the night environment, they also obscure the night sky, making it harder to see stars and planets overhead. Nearly 80% of North Americans cannot see the Milky Way due to light pollution, according to the New World Atlas of Artificial Night Sky Brightness. Sadly, they miss out on experiencing a feeling of awe and wonder by just looking up and contemplating the vastness of the universe.

Sedona uses dark-sky-friendly lighting outdoors that minimizes glare and light leakage. For example, a walkway will be illuminated with downward-pointing lights that are fully shielded. This means no time is needed for dark adaptation, the 20 or 30 minutes usually required for your eyes to adjust to the darkness.

Star in the sky at Ambiente


When you are in a Dark Sky place like Sedona, it’s like entering a different world. After the sun goes down, Sedona puts on an entirely different show above with a glittering cosmos that rivals the red rocks’ glow at sunset. Watch a full moon rise, see a crescent moon hung low in the sky, or be mesmerized by billions of stars on the night of a new moon.

The easiest way to stargaze is to lie down and look up. One of the most luxurious places to do this is Ambiente, a Landscape Hotel with a deep respect for the environment.  A stargazer’s dream, each accommodation, or Atrium, is designed with an outdoor circular staircase up to the rooftop which is tricked out as the perfect star deck with a daybed for two and a gas-lit fire pit to take off the chill of desert nights. There’s even an F&B rooftop service menu delivered from the restaurant.

Best of all, Ambiente guests can book a private rooftop stargazing Sedona experience with a professional astronomer who will guide you on a telescopic tour through millions of light years from the comfort of your Atrium’s star deck. Using powerful custom telescopes and giant binoculars, you will see more than with the naked eye on this journey through stars, clusters, nebulae and the Milky Way, and identify the constellations on a laser-guided tour.

Atrium at Ambiente


If you choose to go it alone, you can still see a lot thanks to Sedona’s dark skies and usually clear nights. Gaze at the sky and begin to observe individual stars. Each star is a distant sun. Some shine more brightly due to their proximity to Earth, while others are more powerful. The longer you look, the more points of light you’ll see, and you may begin to notice the stars aren’t all white. Some are blue, and others are yellow, orange and red. A star’s temperature determines its color, with blue being the hottest. 

Next, connect the dots and look for star patterns. There are 88 constellations formerly recognized by the International Astronomical Union (IAU). These defined constellations map the sky with precise boundaries. Two of the most recognizable star patterns aren’t constellations but asterisms. The Big Dipper and Little Dipper lie within the constellations of Great Bear and Lesser Bear, Ursa Major and Ursa Minor respectively.

This is where a star chart, or cell phone app like Star Walk 2, comes in handy to help orient you to the night sky and what to watch for on a particular night, like planetary alignments, comet returns, and phases of the moon.

Spend some time getting lost in the field of stars. Look, listen and feel the night. See the glittering galaxy above, hear the hooting owl in the forest, and enjoy the soft breeze floating in from the mountains. Meditating on the cosmos is an excellent way to relax before sleeping, as darkness can reset your biological clock.

And if you see a falling star, don’t forget to make a wish.

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