NamibRand Nature Reserve is located 228 miles (368 km) south-southwest of Windhoek, Namibia, in one of the naturally darkest places on Earth. In 2012, the International Dark Sky Association named it a Gold Tier International Dark Sky Reserve, making it the second-ever location on Earth to receive such a title. One of Africa’s largest private nature reserves, NamibRand was established to protect and conserve the unique wildlife and lands of the southwest Namib Desert. The nature reserve shares a 60-mile (100-km) border with Namib-Naukluft National Park to the west and the Nubib mountains to the east. The Kwessie Dunes Lodge at NamibRand includes an open-air “star gazer” room with every bedroom, and guides from the Wolwedans Collection and Tok-Tokkie Trails are educated in astronomy and impart their wisdom of the night sky to guests. “It’s a good place to stargaze because the air is very dry, and human habitation (i.e. light pollution) is minimal,” says an EarthSky community member.
Deborah Byrd created the EarthSky radio series in 1991 and founded EarthSky.org in 1994. Today, she serves as Editor-in-Chief of this website. She has won a galaxy of awards from the broadcasting and science communities, including having an asteroid named 3505 Byrd in her honor. A science communicator and educator since 1976, Byrd believes in science as a force for good in the world and a vital tool for the 21st century. "Being an EarthSky editor is like hosting a big global party for cool nature-lovers," she says.