Death Valley National Park gained a new distinction Wednesday for its night sky and the care it has taken to protect and preserve the darkness.
The International Dark-Sky Assn. selected Death Valley as an International Dark Sky Park for its exceptional skyscape, educational programs and steps it has taken to reduce the glow and glare of artificial lights inside the park. There are 11 parks worldwide that have received the dark-sky moniker.
"Death Valley is a place to gaze in awe at the expanse of the Milky Way, follow a lunar eclipse, track a meteor shower, or simply reflect on your place in the universe," National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis said in a statement.
The park that embraces its extremes as the lowest, hottest, driest place in the country is the third U.S. national parkland to receive dark-sky designation from the nonprofit organization headquartered in Tucson, Ariz. Big Bend National Park in Texas and National Bridges National Monument in Utah are the other two.