National Geographic announced that Grand Canyon National Park received the International Dark Sky Park certification, which establishes it as one of the world's best stargazing spots.

Only nine of the 61 national parks in the United States are certified as such — and the Grand Canyon is one of them. 

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This honor, awarded by the International Dark-Sky Association (IDA) in 2019, puts the Grand Canyon among Joshua Tree, Big Bend, and Death Valley national parks.

According to the IDA, an International Dark Sky Park is "a land possessing an exceptional or distinguished quality of starry nights."

You may have believed this was a given for the Grand Canyon, but the certification process was actually a lengthy one. 

Since the initiative began in 2016, the park has spent years working to decrease the amount of light pollution and enhance night sky star visibility.

Now, the IDA calls the Grand Canyon "one of the most complex, highly-visited, pristine night-sky sanctuaries on the planet."

The celestial views at the Grand Canyon are officially certified as a stargazer's dream, a night photographer's perfect canvas and a canyon traveler's starry heaven.

This article’s cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.