The breathtaking island of Niue in the Pacific is the world's first country to become an International Dark Sky Place.
Dark skies are areas where you can gaze at the night skies without any light pollution, the latter usually caused by street lights or industrial lighting.
To find these areas is rare, as research from the Light Pollution Science and Technology Institute revealed that 80 per cent of the Earth's landmass suffers from light pollution.
Which makes Niue's accolade even more impressive, considering the entire island now offers dark skies.
In fact, the island has picked up two achievements; International Dark Sky Sanctuary and International Dark Sky Community.
It's been formally accredited by the International Dark Sky Association (IDA) for both, which together cover the entire island. The Sanctuary status alone covers 75 per cent of Niue's landmass.
Niue sits about 2,400km northeast of New Zealand and has a population of approximately 1,600 people.
Locals came together to support the dark skies endeavor which includes full streetlight replacement for the entire island and the upgrading of domestic private lighting.
The night skies already play a big part in Niuean culture, which has a long history of star navigation and a life that's regulated by lunar cycles and star positions.
The community's elders have in-depth knowledge of the night skies, and are hoping to pass this passion down to younger generations.
Misa Kalutea, a Niuean elder and cultural guardian told the IDA: "Niue’s skies have been observed and appreciated for centuries.
"The dark sky nation status adds new emphasis to the importance of our traditional knowledge, providing a reason for the retelling and sharing of this knowledge before it is lost."
Visitors will have access to plenty of viewing sites across the island, while locals will also be offering astro-tours to show off highlights including small Magellanic Clouds and the Andromeda constellation.
While Niue is a remote island, it's surprisingly accessible from New Zealand with regular flights from Auckland.
Felicity Bollen, Niue Tourism CEO said: "The people of Niue are understandably proud and delighted to receive such an important acknowledgment from the International Dark-Sky Association.
"To be the first whole country to become a dark sky nation is a massive accomplishment for a small Pacific nation with a population of just over 1,600."
She added: "The stars and night sky have a huge significance to the Niuean way of life, from a cultural, environmental and health perspective. Being a dark sky nation will help protect Niue’s night skies for future generations of Niueans and visitors to the country."
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