America declares its first International Dark Sky Reserve for astrophotographers and stargazers

Dec 20, 2017

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

America declares its first International Dark Sky Reserve for astrophotographers and stargazers

Dec 20, 2017

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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Finding somewhere truly dark for astrophotography becomes more and more difficult with each passing day. Light pollution always seems to be increasing. Towns and cities are ever expanding, getting larger and brighter. And many astrophotographers guard the secrets of their favourite spots to shoot. For those just getting into it, finding somewhere dark can be quite the challenge.

Now, though, America has a designated 1,400 square mile (3,600 square km) area of Central Idaho set aside for stargazing and astrophotography. Designated as America’s first International Dark Sky Reserve, the Central Idaho Dark Sky Reserve joins only 11 other such locations around the world.

The importance of today’s achievement to the dark-skies movement in the United States cannot be understated.

Given the complexity of International Dark Sky Reserve nominations and the rigor of the protections that IDA requires for this honor, this is certainly a watershed moment in the history of American conservation.

– J. Scott Feierabend, IDA Executive Director

The IDA says that the decision is the result of nearly two decades of work and policy decisions by local leaders, residents and business leaders to manage and reduce the impact of light pollution in the area’s night sky.

It stretches from Ketchum/Sun Valley to Stanley, including lands in Blaine, Custer and Elmore Counties and the Sawtooth National Recreation Area. They say that it is the third largest International Dark Sky Reserve in the world.

The Central Idaho Dark Sky Reserve was created not just for locals, but for all Idahoans and visitors from across the world who can come here and experience the primeval wonder of the starry night sky

– Steve Botti, Mayor of Stanley

The Central Idaho Dark Sky Reserve was awarded “Gold Tier” status. This is the highest level of a semi-objective scale used by the IDA to rank the quality of night sky. Gold Tier status is reserved for only the darkest of skies with very little light pollution tolerated.

Despite there being four Dark Sky Reserves here in the UK, and a fifth in Southern Ireland, I’m not much of an astrophotographer. It’s just too wet, cold and cloudy here much of the time. But I think I might have to put Idaho on the bucket list now.

You can find out more about the Central Idaho Dark Sky Reserve on the International Dark-sky Association website.

[via Earther]

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John Aldred

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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6 responses to “America declares its first International Dark Sky Reserve for astrophotographers and stargazers”

  1. Dan Cannella Avatar
    Dan Cannella

    We did, is it sad I’m shocked by the fact we actually turned words in to action to preserve something.

  2. aleroe Avatar
    aleroe

    Dark skies are the first requirement. Next, does it have mosquitoes in the summer?

  3. Ian Hecht Avatar
    Ian Hecht

    That’s very cool! Our provincial government has been working on two preserves: http://www.tourismsaskatchewan.com/sasksecrets-august-2015/dark-sky-preserves – they’re not internationally rated, but they are recognized nationally.

  4. Grant Nelson Avatar
    Grant Nelson

    Kathryn Laeser

  5. WillMondy Avatar
    WillMondy

    I am so excited to be going to one of the few dark sky parks in the U.K., on the island of Sark.

    The only problem is that I will be staying in the lighthouse keepers cottage ?
    Shorter nights in May and a lighthouse might spoil the view unless I head to the opposite shores.

  6. Jim Enloe Avatar
    Jim Enloe

    All good until the Trump administration destroys it. Enjoy it while it last!