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International Dark Sky Sanctuaries

International Dark Sky Sanctuaries Image

Moonrise over the telescope domes on Cerro Tololo, with the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds visible and the Galactic Center rising. (Photo by Associated Universities for Research in Astronomy)

An IDA Dark Sky Sanctuary is public or private land that has an exceptional or distinguished quality of starry nights and a nocturnal environment that is protected for its scientific, natural, or educational value, its cultural heritage and/or public enjoyment.

A sanctuary differs from a Dark Sky Park or Reserve in that it is typically situated in a very remote location with few (if any) nearby threats to the quality of its dark night skies and it does not otherwise meet the requirements for designation as a park or reserve. The typical geographic isolation of Dark Sky Sanctuaries significantly limits opportunities for public outreach, so a sanctuary designation is specifically designed to increase awareness of these fragile sites and promote their long-term conservation.

Certified IDA International Dark Sky Sanctuaries

Designate an International Dark Sky Sanctuary

IDA designates International Dark Sky Places following a rigorous application process requiring applicants to demonstrate robust community support for dark sky protection and document designation-specific program requirements. Learn more and start the process here.

Download the current International Dark Sky Sanctuary guidelines

2018 International Dark Sky Sanctuary Guidelines

2020 Submission Deadline Dates

24 February 2020 25 May 2020
24 August 2020 30 November 2020

Resources for applicants

How to conduct a night sky quality survey

For current International Dark Sky Sanctuaries

Writing International Dark Sky Sanctuary annual reports