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.

NPS award recipients proudly hold their awards for this celebratory group photo

Beyond the Call of Duty

NPS honors recipients of the Director’s Natural and Cultural Resource Awards for 2015, 2016, and 2017.

Night sky view of Milky Way above Puebloan ancestral ruins.

Stargazing Spotlight: Chaco Culture NHP

Amidst an ancient landscape, visitors can experience the same dark sky that the Chacoans observed a thousand years ago.

Sweeping valley view from atop a mountain shows a female scientist beside a tripod and CCD camera

No Ordinary Camera

It takes a special camera to take a special picture. NPS night sky scientists discuss the custom camera they use to measure light at night.

Last updated: September 28, 2018