10 proven spots around the world to observe the night sky

Stargazing might be one of the most universal human acts; as a species, we’ve been stargazing since time immemorial, mapping the skies, guiding our journeys through the cosmos, seeking to understand the nature of space…and also, you know, just basking in the beauty of the stars to be. These days, our major urban centers create a lot of light pollution, which makes stargazing a game of hide and seek. But gazing at the stars should be in our very nature – astrotourism has grown steadily, people are looking for ways to learn how to observe the sky and stars well, and paradises of remote nature and dark skies exist everywhere. in the world, protected, maintained and awaits astronomers and travelers wishing to observe the immensity of the night sky and its many impressive phenomena.

10/10 Mauna Kea, Hawaii

An island state with heavenly beaches and incredible luaus, there’s no shortage of amazing things to see in Hawaii; but the night sky might still be one of the most breathtaking sights to behold there. Mauna Kea, a dormant volcano on the island of Hawai’i, is 4,207 meters (13,803 feet) above sea level, the highest peak in all of Hawaii. Mauna Kea’s clear, dry conditions make it one of the best astronomical — that is, stargazing — sites in the world, and it is home to 13 international telescopes.

9/10 NamibRand Nature Reserve, Namibia

NamibRand Nature Reserve is the largest private nature reserve in Namibia, and it has been designated an International Dark Sky Reserve by the International Dark Sky Association, which seeks to protect access to Earth’s dark skies. During the day, NamibRand is home to some of Namibia’s most scenic views, but at night, away from the bustling city lights and pollution, the starry sky stretching above the arid landscape becomes the main sight.

8/10 Sagarmatha National Park, Nepal

UNESCO World Heritage Center Sagarmatha National Park in Nepal is home to the most famous mountain in the world, Mount Everest. But visitors need not worry as climbing Mount Everest is not necessary to fully enjoy the spectacle of the Himalayan night sky. The valley at the foot of the mountains is still isolated, far from the light and dust of the cities, which makes it ideal conditions for stargazing. The clear night sky and thousands and thousands of stars above the snow-capped Himalayas can make visitors almost as breathless as mountain climbing!

Related: 10 phenomenal stargazing experiences you can have in 2022

7/10 Pic Du Midi, France

At 2,877 meters above sea level (9,439 feet), the Pic du Midi is the official stargazing mountain in the French Pyrenees. This is the location of the Pic du Midi Observatory, which dates from 1878 and was used to take pictures of the Moon’s surface in preparation for the Apollo missions. The Pic du Midi is also an IDA-certified Dark Sky Reserve, and stargazers can choose to climb to the top or lie down at the foot of the mountain and watch the spectacle of the sky unfold above. above.

6/10 Alentejo, Portugal

Home to Portugal’s ‘Mountain of Stars’, the Alqueva de Alentejo Dark Sky Reserve is the world’s first UNESCO Starlight destination. The reserve spans ten towns surrounding Lake Alqueva, all with minimal light pollution and unobstructed views of the stars and the Milky Way. While visiting the reserve, travelers will be able to take guided tours, educational presentations, visits to observatories, opportunities for astronomical observations with the naked eye and high-tech telescope and many opportunities to simply walk under the sea ​​of ​​stars from Portugal.

5/10 Lake Tekapo, New Zealand

Lake Tekapo, or simply Tekapo, is a sparsely populated township in New Zealand’s Mackenzie Basin, where the shimmering night sky reflects off the waters of the lake. In the vast expanses of clear skies and relatively low light pollution, Tekapo is the location of the world’s largest dark sky reserve and home to the Dark Sky Project, an astrotourism center that offers numerous guided tours that combine canon science and history, Maori astronomy, stargazing activities and state-of-the-art technology, including a stunning 125-year-old telescope.

4/10 Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia

The Uyuni salt pans are a fascinating place with many curious aspects. The largest salt desert in the world, Uyuni, has more than 10,000 km completely free of light or visual pollution. The endless expanse of clear skies is made more ethereal by the pure white horizon of the salt flats, making it one of the most stunning stargazing destinations in the world. For an even more striking sight, travelers may wish to visit the Uyuni Salt Pans during the rainy season, when the ground becomes clear and reflective like a mirror, creating a double sky effect that feels like floating in the cosmos. .

Related: Dark Sky Parks: These Lightless Campgrounds Let Visitors Stargaze Like Never Before

3/10 San Pedro Martir National Park, Mexico

The Baja Peninsula on Mexico’s west coast (which includes Baja California and Baja California Sur) is considered by NASA to be one of the top 20 places in the world for stargazing, and San Pedro National Park is one of his many inspirational sites. spots and the National Astronomical Observatory, the second most important observatory in Latin America. Its remote location and high altitude guarantee clear skies almost all year round and as far as the eye can see and perfect conditions for astronomical observations.

2/10 Merzouga, Morocco

Merzouga is a Berber village near Erg Chebbi, the largest chain of dunes in the Sahara desert in Morocco. Away from city lights and light pollution and deeper into expanding sand dunes, Merzouga offers plenty of desert camping (and glamping) sites where visitors can spend the night taking in the sights. breathtaking desert night sky, with all the stars and constellation in full view.

1/10 Atacama Desert, Chile

The Atacama Desert in Chile occupies more than 1000 km from the northern border and up to the border with Peru. The highest desert in the world, its extremely dry climate and geological formations make it one of the main destinations for astronomical studies and astrotourism in the world, experiencing more than 200 cloudless nights a year. In the Atacama, Chile has 40% of the astronomical observation of the whole world, with a dozen national and international observatories and many more to come. Even without a high-tech telescope, the harsh salty desert offers a spectacle of stars, planets and the expanse of the Milky Way for all star lovers.

About Wesley V. Finley

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