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Dark-Sky Sites:

North Dakota





Town: Medora

Observing site: Theodore Roosevelt National Park

Address: P.O. Box 7

Zip Code: 58645 

Contact person: Noel Poe 

Telephone number: (701) 623-4466, ext. 3409 


Restrictions: You will need a National Park a vehicle pass and rent a campsite to be in the park after 10:00 p.m. 

Directions: Exit off of I-94 on exit 24 or 27 to enter the South Unit, it is near the town Medora.

Current weather:  Click for Medora, North Dakota Forecast

How are the sky conditions? 

Typical naked-eye magnitude limit on a clear, moonless night:
     At the zenith: 6.7
     East: 6.7 
     West: 6.7 
     North: 6.7 
     South: 6.2 

Best horizon: North (there is NOTHING north of Medora) till someplace 1,000 miles up in Canada. NOTHING. Along the road between the North Unit and the South Unit is the only place I have ever encountered where there are no manmade lights in any direction.

Worst horizon: South, about 10 degrees.  Medora is to the south of the Little Missouri campground and so there is a hint of light pollution in that area.   The buttes and mesas do limit the horizon as you are at the bottom of a canyon.

Comments from contributor: Our least populated, least visited state, and this is the most extreme and remote place in it. Medora has a couple of lights on in the summer as it tempts visitors with a little outdoor theater and some knickknack shops, but in January?

You WILL see the Zodiacal light in September. If you have never seen it, or the Gegenshein, this is a great place to go. This place is dark. I usually can see M31 and M13 naked eye. The star clouds in Scutum are also quite visible. Theoretically, you can see to 6.7 mag. but on rare nights in the dead of winter it must push the envelope. People see real structure in the Milky Way here. 

One word of caution. You will hear coyotes howling at night! Also, don't look for any park staff if you stray into the backcountry. You can get a backcountry camping pass and really get "out there" but you will not be checked on by anybody so be prepared. Also the prairie dogs sometimes carry the plague. There will be signs warning you of plague outbreaks if any are infected. You don't often see a sign saying, "Warning Bubonic Plague Outbreak" so its part of the adventure. 


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