The world’s best stargazing destinations

Riel articles & publicity, Travel Destinations — By on August 28, 2009 at 7:20 am

It’s one of the most sublime sights in nature: a dark sky filled with thousands of glittering stars. Our ancestors were well acquainted with this spectacle, and most nights they could even gaze up to see a gallery of shooting stars and a visible Milky Way galaxy. Today, unfortunately, light pollution in populated areas tends to obscure all but a few hundred stars in the nighttime sky. If you really want to do some first-rate stargazing, however, a few regions of the world do stand out for their clear skies. I recently published an article for Matador Trips about the world’s best stargazing destinations.Here is an excerpt:

Chile– Chile’s Atacama Desert mixes high altitude, dry air, and an absence of light pollution — a perfect recipe for some of the world’s best stargazing. The highest desert on Earth is not necessarily an easy place to get to, but if you go you’ll be rewarded with some of the clearest skies on the planet. The Observatorio Cerro Mamalluca offers public tours. Or, for a more personal experience, book a room at the Hotel Elqui Domos, where seven geodesic domes feature upstairs bedrooms with detachable roofs so guests can enjoy a stunning view of the heavens from the comfort of their bed.

Hawaii– Hawaii is also a highly regarded destination for viewing the stars. In the middle of the Pacific Ocean, it’s relatively untouched by light pollution. The best spot in the island chain is the volcano of Mauna Kea on the Big Island. It’s also the future site of the Thirty-Meter Telescope, which will be the most advanced telescope ever built when finished in 2018. Hawaii beat out Chile for the honor of hosting this telescope after these two destinations were judged the best stargazing locations on the planet. Visitors should begin at the Onizuka Visitors Center, which runs free nightly stargazing programs.

The full article on the Matador site has a number of other stargazing recommendations.

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  1. Hal Amen says:

    Thanks, Bob. It’s a great piece and we were happy to publish it!

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