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International Dark Sky Reserves

  • Church of the Good Shepherd at Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve, New Zealand (Photo by Fraser Gunn)
  • Llanthony Priory at Brecon Beacons International Dark Sky Reserve, Wales  (Photo by Michael Sinclair)
  • 1.6-meter telescope at Mont-Mégantic International Dark Sky Reserve (Photo by Guillaume Poullin)
  • Stargazing at NamibRand Nature Reserve, Namibia (Photo by Matthew Hodgson)
  • Star trails over the observatory at Pic du Midi International Dark Sky Reserve, France (Photo by Paul Compère)
  • Star trails over the Wasserkuppe at Rhön International Dark Sky Reserve, Germany (Photo by Werner Klug)

An IDA International Dark Sky Reserve is a public or private land possessing an exceptional or distinguished quality of starry nights and nocturnal environment that is specifically protected for its scientific, natural, educational, cultural, heritage and/or public enjoyment. Reserves consist of a core area meeting minimum criteria for sky quality and natural darkness, and a peripheral area that supports dark sky preservation in the core. Reserves are formed through a partnership of multiple land managers who have recognized the value of the natural nighttime environment through regulations and long-term planning.

If you are interested in applying or learning more about how to become an International Dark Sky Reserve, click here:

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Certified IDA International Dark Sky Reserves

2018 Submission Deadline Dates

29 January 2018 26 March 2018
28 May 2018 23 July 2018
24 September  2018 26 November 2018
28 January 2019

Download the current International Dark Sky Reserve guidelines

NOTE: IDA published a major revision of the IDSR guidelines on 1 June 2018. New nominations initiated between 1 June and 1 December 2018 may, at the discretion of the initiator, follow either the existing (2015) or new (2018) guidelines version. All nominations initiated after 1 December 2018 MUST use the 2018 version.

2018 IDSR Guidelines
2015 IDSR Guidelines

Resources for applicants


How to conduct a night sky quality survey

For current International Dark Sky Reserves

Writing Dark Sky Reserve Annual Reports