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.

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

North Star to Freedom

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

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.

Night sky view of the Perseid meteor showers

Summer Meteor Showers Animate Night Sky

Every year the Perseid meteor showers dazzle with a display of shooting stars. This year's "fireworks" are estimated to peak August 12-13.

Last updated: August 3, 2018