Protecting the Night

The night sky has inspired us for generations. Nighttime views and environments are among the critical park features the National Park Service (NPS) 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.

starry night over mountain peaks

A Star-Filled Night

Stellar stargazing places are becoming more and more rare. This interactive story map shows how we protect night skies for our enjoyment.

A park ranger uses a green laser to point out celestial features to visitors.

Night Sky Footage

Many national parks offer spectacular night sky views. These videos showcase this wonder and related aspects of night sky protection.

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: June 3, 2019