Makhtesh Ramon – Nature Reserve and Visitors Center is located in the Negev Desert of Israel. Inside the desert is the world’s largest erosion crater, Makhtesh Ramon. The 25-mile-long crater and surrounding natural area is home to desert life, from thriving creek-side plants to the charismatic, rock-hopping goats. The many hiking trails and unpaved roads make it a popular destination for mountain biking. The only access is by the highway that runs from Eilat to the only spot of civilization within miles of the crater, the small town of Ramon. It is this isolation from any nearby lights that helped earn the Ramon Crater the title of an IDA-designated International Dark Sky Park. Israel’s IDA distinction is the first to be earned in the Middle East. The Genesis-like landscapes of the Ramon Crater include geological formations unparalleled in the world that tell a fascinating story about the geologic evolution of the Earth. The crater has a star-studded sky and a natural undisturbed night environment that allows not only the development of a unique ecosystem but also a unique human night experience.
Chelynne Campion is a Production/ Sales Assistant for EarthSky. Her family just purchased a telescope, and she's now learning to be a stargazer!