The World's Best Places to See the Stars

Deserts at dusk in the Namib Desert in Namibia.
Deserts at dusk in the Namib Desert in Namibia.

9. Canary Islands

The Canary Islands are internationally recognized for having clean and clear skies, which are best suited for watching the stars. It has the privilege of having three Starlight Reserves. The best islands to gaze at the constellations are the La Palma and Tenerife. La Palma is a UNESCO Biosphere reserve. Tenerife, on the other hand, is a luxurious vacation spot for observing the sky. Other stargazing spots on the Canary Islands are the Orchilla Lighthouse in El Hierro, Las Nieves in La Gomera, and Morro Velosa in Fuerteventura. Canary Islands have the world’s largest telescope called the Gran Telescopio de Canarias. The telescope is as tall as a 12-storey tower block and bright silver in color.

8. Atacama Desert, Chile

The Atacama Desert grants the best view in the Southern Hemisphere. It prides itself for possessing high altitudes and zero light pollution which enables visitors to have a clear view of the sky. The clear sky is also as a result of the low rains in the desert. The Atacama Desert receives only one milimeter of rain annually! The Paranal Observatory owns one of the largest telescopes in the world. Besides the Paranal Observatory, Atacama Desert is also home to a myriad of observatories. Astronomers who visit Atacama Desert are able to observe the birth of planets and stars, and distant galaxies.

7. Tuscany, Italy

Tuscany is famous for being the place where a revolution in astronomy began. In the 17th century, Galileo Galilei developed his telescope in Tuscany. The place is popular for great stargazing experiences. Amongst those unique experiences is watching Jupiter’s satellites, sunspots, and the Moon’s craters. As such many astronomers often set up their equipment at the top of the Tuscany hills. The spot enables them relish the beauty of the universe. Hence, Tuscany is rated among the best places on earth to watch the night sky. It is definitely the best place to view the magnificent stars and Milky Way.

6. Namib Desert, Namibia

The Namib Desert is perfectly flat, which grants astronomers a 360 degree view of the sky. Located far from any human habitation, the desert has no light pollution at all. As such the Namib Desert skies are among the darkest in the Earth and so the best for watching the stars in the night. Stargazing here makes one observe the Milky Way stretching across the sky while the Megallanic Clouds fill the sky with bright light. There exists an observatory on the desert where a resident helps visitors to navigate the sky by use of a 12-inch telescope. Some of the wonderful observations that one can make is of the Jewel Box found inside the Southern Cross.

5. Death Valley, California

The Death Valley National Park has been named the “third International Dark Sky Park” in the United States. It is the perfect place to observe the lunar eclipse, track a meteor shower, and watch the expanse of the Milky Way. The Death Valley plays an important role in preserving the dark skies despite worldwide urbanization. Urbanization tends to bring along with it light pollution which is a big threat to dark skies. Photographers are also able to take their best astronomy shots at the Death Valley. In fact the Death Valley has become a great tourist destination for night-sky tourism. Events such as the annual Death Valley Winter Star Party attract many scientists and visitors.

4. Scottish Highlands

The Scottish highlands have dark skies which are suitable for stargazing. As one watches the sky, they are able to observe shooting stars, planets, the Milky Way and many constellations. The best time to watch the stars is one and a half hours after sunset and when the moon is not in the sky. During these times, one can use their naked sky or a red torch to have a good view of the sky. The rarest experience is sighting the Aurora Borealis star in the sky. They also need to ensure they have warm clothings since it is often cold in the night.

3. Breckenridge, Colorado

Colorado’s nightscapes are very stunning, granting many opportunities to take part in astrotourism. Besides skiing, bike riding and snowboarding, tourists can enjoy gazing at the stars. Breckenridge is one of the many places in Colorado that grants a fantastic stargazing experience. Other extraordinary places to watch the stars in Colorado include Chimney Rock National Monument, Black Canyon of Gunnison National Park, Pawnee National Grassland, and Maroon Bells.

2. Hawaii

A visit to Hawaii gives one a chance to experience watching so many stars in the sky. Many people rarely have this experience today due to the light pollution in most cities. A simple way to gaze at the stars is by lying on the beach in the night. However, the summit of Mauna Kea grants the best view of the sky. There are thirteen giant telescopes that have been set up in an area with no hint of unnatural light. Using these telescopes to watch the sky gives one a chance to watch the stars, Milky Way and the Moon. Furthermore, lots of discoveries have been made on this spot which has an altitude of 4, 205 meters.

1. Australian Outback

The Australian outback sky is known to offer a spectacular experience when it comes to stargazing. The sky is very dark as it is far away from the well lit Australian cities. The dark sky clearly reveals the Milky Way which is full of seemingly brighter and bigger stars. The experience is even better in the company of an astronomer. He can help one locate the famous stars such as the Southern Cross. In addition, one has the privilege of listening to Aboriginal stories. The areas that give the best sky views in the Australian outback include Uluru, Arkaloora Wilderness Sanctuary, and Warrumbungle National Park.


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