O Radiant Dark! O Starry Night!

The night sky has inspired us for generations. With the night comes dazzling pinpoints of light, and the Milky Way unfurled in luminous mystery. Nighttime views and environments are among the critical park features the National Park Service protects. Night sky protection enhances qualities of solitude and undeveloped wilderness character that animals depend on for survival, park visitors seek for connections, and many cultural-historical parks require for preservation. In this regard, the NPS recognizes a naturally dark night sky as more than a scenic canvas; it is part of a complex ecosystem that supports both natural and cultural resources.

The shimmering Milky Way rises above the visitor center building at Petrified Forest National Park.

Stars Shine Bright Above Arizona Park

Petrified Forest National Park Achieves International Dark Sky Park Status

Geyers spray steam skyward to the Milky Way and stars at Yellowstone National Park.

Night Sky Initiatives

Since the 1990s, Yellowstone has taken a leadership role in preserving its nighttime setting by making outdoor lighting improvements.

Night view of an illuminated cabin with a starry sky above.

The North Star to Freedom

The night sky played a role in helping escaping slaves find their way north to freedom.

Last updated: July 9, 2018