Big Bend National Park officials has been designated as an "International Dark Sky Park" and one of 10 places in the world certified to have especially dark night skies favored for stargazing.
A statement Monday from the International Dark-Sky Association says Big Bend has the darkest measured skies in the lower 48 states and is the largest park in the world with the designation.
Only four other U.S. parks and one in Scotland share the "gold tier" level, which means the area skies are free from all but minimal light pollution. Six other parks, with slightly less dark skies, have "silver tier" rank.
Strict ordinances in Alpine, Van Horn and other towns and communities in the region limit unnecessary night light and curb West Texas light pollution.