Growing up in Orange County, Stacey Yoon had never really seen the Milky Way. So when she saw a Facebook ad for an internship where she’d be measuring darkness in the middle of the Mojave Desert, she jumped on it.
“Being in the desert, it just clears your mind a lot,” Yoon, a recent graduate of University of California Irvine, said. “It feels like you’re part of something way bigger.”
Yoon got the internship. She and fellow interns spent one night a month over the past year collecting data to support a potential designation of Mojave Trails National Monument as an International Dark Sky Sanctuary. The designation, one of five categories certified by the International Dark-Sky Association, is reserved for places that are remote, open to the public and have “exceptional or distinguished quality of starry nights.”