Utah's Arches National Park, known for its profusion of natural arches is now also officially known for its dark skies that make for ideal star-gazing and photography.
In a joint announcement by the National Park Service and the International Dark-Sky Association, Arches was designated as an International Dark-Sky Park, reflecting its “quality night skies and a commitment to protecting and sharing natural darkness." The Association describes dark-sky parks as "land possessing an exceptional or distinguished quality of starry nights and a nocturnal environment that is specifically protected for its scientific, natural, educational, cultural heritage, and/or public enjoyment."
Among the park's measures to qualify were replacing light fixtures with fully-shielded bulbs and taking other measures to reduce glare. The designation is expected to bring more astronomy-based tourism business to the southern Utah area.
Photo: PiConsti, Wikimedia