A Vacation to the Middle of Nowhere that you can Actually Enjoy?

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Space is a beautiful, yet mysterious concept that surrounds us all. unfortunately, it is estimated that up to 80% of children, in modern times, will not get to view the Milky Way galaxy – due to the ever-growing problem of light pollution, from out cities.

The International Dark-Sky Association (IDA) is a United States-based non-profit organization incorporated in 1988 by founders David Crawford, a professional astronomer, and Tim Hunter, a physician/amateur astronomer. The mission of the IDA is “to preserve and protect the night time environment and our heritage of dark skies through quality outdoor lighting.” Light pollution is the result of outdoor lighting that is not properly shielded, allowing light to be directed into the eyes and the night sky. Light that shines into the eyes is called glare and light shining into the night sky above the horizon causes skyglow. Lighting can also cause light trespass when it is directed into areas that it is not wanted, e.g., a neighbor’s yard and windows. IDA was the first organization in the dark-sky movement, and is currently the largest.

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IDA’s principal approach is to raise awareness about the value of dark, star-filled night skies and encourage their protection and restoration through education about the problems and solutions, including outdoor lighting practices that create less light pollution. In 2011, the organization had about 5,000 members in 70 countries.

Among many concerns, IDA and related organizations are collating research on light at night’s (LAN) effects on human health and ecology as a result of artificial light at night. The hypothesis is that humans have evolved over millennia exposed to roughly equal periods of light and dark. The disruption of this circadian rhythm can cause hormone imbalance in all living organisms. In the last century, artificial lighting has reduced the regular period of darkness and may negatively impact health. Light at night has been linked to increased incidence of hypertension, attention deficit disorder, obesity, diabetes and some forms of cancer.

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International Dark Sky Places
To promote awareness about the issues, the IDA has an International Dark Sky Places program that aims “to protect locations of exceptional nighttime visages for future generations.”

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International Dark Sky Parks
Natural Bridges National Monument, Utah, United States, designated 2006
Cherry Springs State Park, Pennsylvania, United States, designated 2008
Galloway Forest Park, Scotland, United Kingdom, designated 2009
Zselic National Landscape Protection Area, Hungary, designated 2009
Clayton Lake State Park, New Mexico, United States, designated 2010
Goldendale Observatory State Park, Washington, United States, designated 2010
Hortobágy National Park, Hungary, designated 2011
The Headlands, Michigan, United States, designated 2011
Observatory Park, Ohio, United States, designated 2011
Big Bend National Park, Texas, United States, designated 2012
Death Valley National Park, California, United States, designated 2013
Chaco Culture National Historical Park, New Mexico, United States, designated 2013
Northumberland National Park, England, United Kingdom, designated 2013
Eifel National Park, Germany, designated 2014
Mayland Community College Blue Ridge Observatory and Star Park, United States, designated 2014
Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument, United States, designated 2014
Hovenweep National Monument, Utah and Colorado, United States, designated 2014
Copper Breaks State Park, Texas, United States, designated 2014
Enchanted Rock State Natural Area, Texas, United States, designated 2014
Elan Valley Estate, Wales, United Kingdom, designated 2015
Mayo International Dark Sky Park, County Mayo, Republic of Ireland, designated 2016
Warrumbungle National Park, New South Wales, Australia, designated 2016

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International Dark Sky Reserves
The Reserve at Mont-Mégantic, Quebec, Canada, designated 2008
Exmoor National Park, England, United Kingdom, designated 2011
NamibRand Nature Reserve, Namibia, Africa, designated 2012
Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve, South Island, New Zealand, designated 2012
Brecon Beacons National Park, Wales, United Kingdom, designated 2013
Pic du Midi, France, designated 2013
Kerry International Dark-Sky Reserve, Kerry, Ireland, designated 2014
Westhavelland Nature Park, Germany, designated 2014
International Dark Sky Communities
Flagstaff, Arizona, United States, designated 2001
Borrego Springs, California, United States, designated 2009
Sark, Channel Islands, designated 2011
Homer Glen, Illinois, United States, designated 2011
Coll in the Inner Hebrides of Scotland, designated 2013
Dripping Springs, Texas, United States, designated 2014
Beverly Shores, Indiana, United States, designated 2014
Sedona, Arizona, United States, designated 2014
Westcliffe and Silver Cliff, Colorado, United States, designated 2015
Thunder Mountain Pootsee Nightsky, Arizona, United States, designated 2015
Bon Accord, Alberta, Canada, designated August 2015

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