Dark Side of the Moon

COTM recognized by International Dark-Sky Association

Published online: Sep 06, 2017 Articles, East Idaho Outdoors, Family Fun Guide, Photography
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The International Dark-Sky Association (IDA) has granted silver-tier International Dark Sky Park status to Craters of the Moon National Monument.

Craters of the Moon was designated a national monument in 1924 and provides visitors opportunities to view a spectacular volcanic landscape. The stunning scenery and expansive landscapes of Craters of the Moon don't end when the sun sets.  

"The Milky Way stretching across the park's incredibly dark night sky is a sight many visitors will never forget," said Craters of the Moon Superintendent Wade Vagias. "With this designation, the International Dark-Sky Association recognizes the importance of the natural darkness found here."

Park staff have made special efforts to ensure that park lighting is "night-sky friendly" with bulbs and fixtures that focus light downward instead of into the sky. Natural darkness is also recognized in park management documents which clearly state the value of night skies and the park's commitment to protect them.

Originally named for its resemblance to the lunar surface, the landscape of Craters of the Moon has served as a stand-in for many planetary bodies. The tradition of space science research began here in 1969 when the second group of astronauts who landed on the lunar surface first made a visit to Craters of the Moon to learn about volcanic geology. The lava landscape is currently providing a research venue for NASA scientists who are laying the ground work for future journeys to Mars and beyond…

As a newly designated International Dark Sky Park, Craters of the Moon will remain committed to mitigating light pollution within park boundaries and showcasing our dark night skies for visitors. The Idaho Falls Astronomical Society has provided night sky viewing events (Star Parties) at Craters of the Moon for over 25 years. Come out and “view the stars from the Moon” at our next Star Party September 22 & 23.

--T. Stout


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