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Space is cool

Idaho wants to create a 1,400-square-mile reserve for the stars

Idaho is moving forward with plans to establish the first International Dark Sky Reserve in the United States, a designation for a location so remote from light pollution that you can even see the "interstellar dust clouds" of the Milky Way in the night sky, The Associated Press reports.

Proponents of the reserve plan to file an application this fall to designate 1,400 square miles of central Idaho as part of the dark sky territory. Locals, who would voluntarily take measures to reduce light pollution, are almost unanimously behind the decision in part because they enjoy the celestial splendor as well. "I go out most every night and look at it because it's so dramatic," said Steve Botti, the city council president of Stanley, Idaho.

There are only 11 other Dark Sky Reserves in the world, with the only other in the Americas being Mont-Mégantic in Québec, Canada. The International Dark-Sky Association will take an estimated 10 weeks to decide if the central Idaho region meets its standards after the application is filed.

"It's nice to look up and see something greater than ourselves," said Ketchum, Idaho, Mayor Nina Jonas. Read the full report at the Idaho Statesman.