Our national parks provide scenic views of some our country's most unique landscapes, and opportunities to explore the dark night skies. Poor air quality and light pollution affect not only the health of our planet and ecosystem, but the way we enjoy our national parks.
The following media provide a spectrum of reflections on the wonder and value of clear dark skies, and information about light pollution's impact on viewsheds and ecosystems. Be inspired. Make a difference!
Dark Skies Over Glen Canyon
Vignettes of the vast array of night sky scenes at Glen Canyon National Recreation Area and Rainbow Bridge National Monument. Rainbow Bridge has been named a Dark Sky Sanctuary by the International Dark-Sky Association, the first in the National Park Service and fourth in the world to receive this honor. This video has no audio beyond generic background music.
Yosemite Nature Notes 19: Night Skies
Yosemite's vast acreage and remote location protect some of the darkest night skies in the country. Astronomers, photographers, and city dwellers flock to the park to take advantage of this unique opportunity to view planets, stars, and galaxies.
For eight beautiful nights at the 2018 Grand Canyon National Park Star Party, a vintage cassette recorder was placed on a table under the stars for visitors to find. Next to the old machine was a sign that invited visitors to imagine themselves as messengers from the year 2218, where stars can no longer be seen due to light pollution. They looked up. And they left these responses.
A bat inventory gives front row views of biologists weighing, measuring, and inspecting Big Brown bats at the BioBlitz2016 Bat Inventory in Rock Creek Park, Washington, D.C.
National Park Service wildlife veterinarian Michelle Verant shares expertise on bats and White Nose Syndrome, and engages with BioBlitz participants at the NPS Centennial celebration on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., May 2016.
Crew members of the Polynesian Voyaging Society, an NPS environmental mission partner, discuss traditional wayfinding, oceanic conservation, and cultural heritage as part of BioBlitz2016; Washington Canoe Club, D.C.
When sea turtles hatch in areas with lots of light pollution, they can get disoriented and not make it into the ocean. This episode tracks the young volunteers in the Pensacola Florida area working to help turtles make it to the sea.
Journey to a place where the Milky Way stretches across the heavens. Experience the mystery and wonder of Grand Canyon's night sky with Astronomer Tyler Nordgren and Park Ranger Rader Lane. Explore its beauty and learn what you can do to help preserve it.
Astronomy Ranger Minute
It has been asked "what do we lose, if we lose the night?" Take a journey through the brilliant night skies of Great Basin National Park. These dark skies are exceptional, but under threat. Ask yourself this question: does a solution exist?
The Planetary Society wants citizens everywhere to know the cosmos and our place within it. 2016 is the one hundredth anniversary of the National Park Service. For 100 years the Park Service has been preserving our natural wonders so that we can go to the parks... and wonder! This wonder is what drives so much of science.
Natural Sounds and Night Skies physical scientist Bob Meadows answers questions about the 2017 total solar eclipse.
Disappearing Darkness Part II
The night sky in Joshua Tree National Park is one of the darkest night skies in southern California. Visitors enjoy stargazing and seeing the Milky Way. However, the threat of light pollution is always on the horizon.
When two rangers investigate light pollution around Theodore Roosevelt National Park, they are surprised by the difference that good design and planning can make, but they are even more surprised by the natural phenomenon that, by chance, unfolds behind them.
Last updated: October 31, 2018