In its efforts to help educate the public about the hazards of light pollution spoiling both the natural environment and our understanding of the cosmos, and to help preserve the natural night sky for future stargazers, the International Dark-Sky Association (IDA) has certified a selection of open areas as "International Dark Sky Parks."
Left: Jacob Frank, a media manager for the Four Corners School of Outdoor Education in Monticello, Utah, photographed the sky at one such site, the Hovenweep National Monument on the Utah-Colorado border.
Camera: Canon EOS 5D
Lens 20.0 mm
Photographer Bill Shupp's image of the Big Dipper above Cottonball Basin in Death Valley National Park, California.
Camera: Canon EOS 6D
The Milky Way rises above Casa Grande, as seen from Chisos Basin in Big Bend National Park in Texas. The image is one of thousands that photographer Costa1973 took as part of a 6.5-hour time lapse.
Camera: Tokina AT-X 116
Lens 13.0 mm
The Headlands, a county park in northern Michigan, was the site of this image by photographer Yoshiyuki Takahashi.
Camera: Sony SLT-A55V
Lens 28.0 mm
The night sky as photographed by Nicholas A. Tonelli at Cherry Springs State Park, Potter County, Pa.
Camera: General Imaging Co. X5
Lens 4.9 mm
The Owachomo Bridge at Natural Bridges National Monument in Utah - the first site to be certified as an International Dark Sky Park, in 2007 - as photographed by DennyMont.
Camera: Canon EOS 40D
Lens 15.0 mm
Kielder Forest and Water Park
A fireball streaks across the night sky as seen from Kielder Observatory, at the Kielder Water and Forest Park in Northumberland National Park, in northern England.
According to the Campaign for the Protection of Rural England, the skies above Kielder are the darkest in the country.
Northumberland Dark Sky Park (fact sheet)
Bob Wick, a photographer with the Bureau of Land Management, caught this night vista at the Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument in Arizona, designated an "International Night Sky Province" by the International Dark-Sky Association.
The National Monument's 1.05 million acres, bounded by the Grand Canyon and the Arizona-Nevada border, is among the most isolated parcels of federally-managed land in the Lower 48. It received its designation in March 2014.
Amateur photographer's images helped preserve national treasure ("CBS Evening News," 03/12/14)
Photographer Derek Oyen captured the night sky above Observatory Park near Montville, Ohio.
Camera: Fujifilm X-E1
Lens 18.0 mm
Observatory Park (website)
Hortobagy National Park
Photographer talajmentifagy captured the Milky Way at Hortobagy National Park in Hungary.
Camera: Nikon D3100
Lens 18.0 mm
Galloway Forest Park
The Pleiades (five bluish dots) are visible in the bottom left in this night sky image by photographer Usman Malik, taken at Galloway Forest Park, Scotland.
Camera: Canon EOS Rebel T1i
Lens 18.0 mm
Dark Skies in Galloway Forest Park (Forestry Commission, Scotland)
Night descends on Chaco Culture National Historical Park in New Mexico. Photographer: Emily Barney.
Camera: Panasonic DMC-FZ18
Lens 4.6 mm
Images taken at Copper Breaks State Park, as appeared in the submission by Texas Parks & Wildlife to the International Dark-Sky Association for certification as an International Dark Sky Park.
For nearly two decades Copper Breaks has been the home of the StarWalk education program. The park also retro-fitted its outdoor lighting fixtures to decrease light pollution.
Copper Breaks won certification on August 6, 2014.
Blue Ridge Observatory
As part of its 2013 proposal for International Dark Sky Park certification by the Mayland Community College Blue Ridge Observatory Star Park, in Spruce Pine, N.C., commercial photographer Todd Bush submitted a series of photographs depicting views from the site.
Left: One of Bush's "All-Sky Images," compositing shots from a Nikon DSLPR with an 8mm fisheye lens, rotated to all four compass points. Exposure time was 20 seconds.
"Views of the Milky Way from this site are simply stunning," wrote Bush. "[B]inocular and telescope views into this awesome sky-filling presence will find many objects to enjoy, from the tendrils of its fiery arms to the deep recesses of rich surrounding dark skies!"
The Blue Ridge Observatory Star Park was certified an International Dark-Sky Park in February 2014, becoming the first such park in the southeastern U.S.; the first operating under an institution of higher learning; and the first to maintain outdoor lighting consisting of fully-shielded, low-color-temperature LED fixtures.
The night sky as photographed by Brian Russell at Enchanted Rock State Natural Area in Texas, which - along with Copper Breaks State Park - became the first Texas state parks to be certified as International Dark Sky Parks by the International Dark-Sky Association, on August 6, 2014.
Camera: Nikon D7000
Lens 12.0 mm
Other International Dark Sky Parks include the Zselic National Landscape Protection Area in Hungary, Clayton Lake State Park in New Mexico, and Goldendale Observatory Park in Washington State.
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By CBSNews.com senior producer David Morgan