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Brilliant Stargazing Destinations

Posted by Maria Inês Pinto on 24/01/2015
Brilliant Stargazing Destinations

If you live in a city, you know it’s almost impossible to look up at the sky at night and see more than a couple of stars clearly. But just because you don’t see them, it doesn’t mean they’re not there. The beauty of the night sky can still be seen today all over the world in places that aren’t so overwhelmed with air and light pollution. But some spots offer such beautiful views of the night sky, they simply take our breath away. Here are a few of them that you simply can’t miss if stargazing is your thing:

1.  Atacama Desert, Chile: A vast dry desert all around you, an astoundingly high altitude and virtually cloudless skies make this Chilean piece of heaven on earth the ideal location for stargazing. The inexistent air or light pollution in this secluded and peaceful desert mean the skies are crystal clear at night. You’ll be able to gaze at all the legends of the Southern Hemisphere including the Tarantula Nebula.

2.  Namibrand Nature Reserve, Namibia: Located deep in the Namib Desert, the Namibrand Nature Reserve is one of the darkest places on earth, making it perfect for a night well spent gazing at the stars. There are plenty of resorts along the park from where it’s possible to get an incredibly clear view of the sky but Sossusvlei Desert Lodge, with its very own observatory and a resident astronomer, caters especially to stargazers.

3.  Mauna Kea, Hawaii, USA: The Hawaiian islands are known for being prime stargazing destinations, but the dormant volcano at Mauna Kea takes the crown in this American state. Its isolated location far from major cities combined with its incredible elevation make it ideal for admiring the stunning night sky.

4.  Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve, New Zealand: Another glorious nature reserve, this one in New Zealand is the world’s largest dark sky reserve spanning almost 1,700 square miles. The best way to explore it is by booking a tour – and many are available especially for stargazers.

5.  National Bridges Monument, Utah, USA: With almost zero light pollution, this national park in the state of Utah is also said to be one of the darkest ones in the world. The first place in the world to be named an International Dark Sky Park, this incredible park offers glorious views of the star-filled night sky and local rangers offer astronomy workshops by day.

6.  Arkaroola, Australia: Just a two-hour flight from Adelaide is where you will find the picturesque town of Arkaroola and its magnificent astronomical observatory. Known as one of the prime location for amateur stargazers in the Southern Hemisphere, this observatory offers guided tours and plenty of telescopes to play with.

7.  Kiruna, Sweden: Located approximately 120 miles north of the Arctic Circle, Kiruna is Europe’s space tourism destination and it’s also one of the best places to visit for stargazers. With a prime location for observing the magnificent northern lights, there are very few like this Swedish town. Plus, when you stay at the infamous Icehotel, you will be able to enjoy guided tours and even “picnics” among the stars with some high-powered binoculars.

8.  Yangtze River Valley, China: While China is one of the world’s most polluted countries, its vast rural areas have luckily remained quite untouched by it. Plus, the country has a long tradition of stargazing so plenty of observatories have been set up in advantageous locations throughout. The stunning Yangtze River Valley is one of such places where luckily you will also be able to enjoy a breathtaking scenery in the daytime.

9.  Galloway State Park, Scotland, UK: Oh yes, you don’t have to travel far and away to enjoy a beautifully clear night sky. Right here at home, in southwest Scotland, you can enjoy some of the most glorious views of the starry night and witness see legends such as the Andromeda Galaxy and Aurora Borealis.

10. Mallorca, Spain: Sure, this beautiful island is best known for its golden beaches filled with tourists, luxurious resorts along the coast, and a lively night scene. But beyond all of that, lies an unspoilt and unpolluted island with picturesque rural villages that create the perfect setting for stargazing. Consider the town of Costix, home to an international observatory since the early 1990s that offers viewings from 8pm on weekends.

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