What is an International Dark Sky Place?

The International Dark Sky Places Program promotes preservation and protection of night skies across the globe. Three types of areas compose the program; communities, parks, and reserves.The links below will lead you to more information about each of these. Preserving dark skiesstarts locally, with a dedicated group of citizens, staff, or volunteers. IDA International Dark Sky Parks and Reserves are home to some of the darkest and most pristine skies in the world. IDA International Dark Sky Communities are filled with citizens concerned for the many factors that dark skies depend on and while their skies may not be perfect, they are examples to the world of how a city may light the streets without lighting the sky above.

These locations serve as reminders that with quality outdoor lighting, the extraordinary wonders of the nighttime sky and night environment are just as much a part of our lifestyle and history as are the daylight hours. In fact, without the inspiration from night sky objects, much of the world's history, art, culture, music, and literature would not have been created. This is why the International Dark Sky Places Program aims to protect locations of exceptional nighttime visages for future generations. IDSPlaces celebrate this rich heritage with innovative outreach programs meant to inspire others to cherish the sky and return the night sky to children and people of the world.

International Dark Sky Places Programs:

blue circleCommunities

red squareParks

green diamondReserves

 To start the application process please fill out this form.

See IDSPlaces from Space!

Click the link above to see what our International Dark Sky Places look like from above. These images are provided by NASA Earth Observatory's release of the 'Black Marble.' Learn more on their website and in IDA's press release. Take a look yourself using the ease of Google.


Pursuing an International Dark Sky Place Designation

The International Dark-Sky Association continues to accept applications from locations wishing to join in the ranks of International Dark Sky Places Program.

Designation almost always starts with a small group of individuals who organize to seek formal protection of their nightscape. Designations are open to communities and publicly and privately managed land areas. Please read the IDSPlaces FAQ to learn more.


The first step of applying is to fill out this form.


Release of Updates to IDSPlaces Guidelines

Updated guidelines for communities, parks, and reserves have been released. Please refer to these new guidelines when applying for designation.

If you are interested in developing or are currently developing an application for a location we encourage you to consider these new guidelines. Locations that are currently developing applications, and have made substantial progress (as approved by the IDA program manager) will have until 25 November 2013 to complete and submit their applications under the previous guidelines. The previous guidelines have been removed from the website but are available upon request. To submit under the previous guidelines you must have contact with the program manager and receive approval.

As part of the new guidelines bi-monthly submission deadlines will be set. These dates will be updated yearly. The deadlines represent the date that the applications (already reviewed and approved by the IDA program manager) will be sent to the committee. This year's dates are listed below:

 Submission Deadline Dates:

27 January 2014
24 March 2014
26 May 2014
28 July 2014
22 September 2014
24 November 2014
Download the guidelines:
Download Chinese translations of the guidelines / 點擊此處下載指南
黑暗的天空社區 (Dark Sky Community)
           夜空公園 (Dark Sky Park)     
           黑暗的天空儲備 (Dark Sky Reserve)
提出的問題往往 (Frequently Asked Questions)
Translation courtesy of IDA Beijing / Starry Sky Project of China