International Dark Sky Association

McDonald Observatory and Big Bend Communities are Forming the World’s Largest Dark-Sky Preserve

August 4, 2021 | By Joe Nick Patoski

Did you know that stars shine so bright in the West Texas desert that you can see in the dark on a clear night?

Photo: The Milky Way Rises Over Pedernales Falls State Park

July 24, 2019 | By

In a state where the stars at night are known for being big and bright, summer is the optimal time for viewing the Milky Way, when it is high in the southern sky and viewable through much of the night. State parks—such as Pedernales Falls State Park near Johnson City, where the night sky reflects in the still waters of the Pedernales River—are often far enough from light pollution for decent observation. Some of the best state parks for nighttime viewing are Big Bend Ranch, Enchanted Rock, Copper Breaks, and South Llano River, which are all designated International Dark Sky Parks by the International Dark-Sky Association.

Devils River State Natural Area Recognized as ‘Dark Sky Sanctuary’

February 1, 2019 | By Matt Joyce

If you’ve ventured out to Devils River State Natural Area in Southwest Texas, you know the skies can be awfully dark at night. Now the International Dark Sky Association is recognizing the 37,000-acre property for its relatively unspoiled skies with designation as a “dark sky sanctuary.”

“As Texas’ first International dark-sky sanctuary, Devils River SNA enjoys some of the clearest and starriest night skies in the continental United States,” says Adam Dalton, a program manager with the Arizona-based nonprofit association. “Owing to the area’s commitment to mitigating light pollution, the Devils River serves as a model for dark-sky conservation within the Texas State Parks system.”

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