Despite all that goes on this planet, all the politics, the religions, the hustle, bustle, culture, and history, there is no doubting the fact that all of that happens on just a small speck of rock in a truly gigantic ocean called the Universe. The sky has fascinated us since times immemorial, and ever since, the idea of the sky to being just an outer limit of black velvet with starry holes peering into the heavens, to the idea that the infinite blackness is just a small part of the observable universe, human thought has come a long way. There have existed amateur and serious stargazers before and they exist even now. But because of the after effects of the Industrial revolution, air and light pollution to be exact, its hard to find a handful of stars in the sky nowadays. But there are still places on Earth where we can still see the sky in all its glory, complete with the magnificent Milky Way. This article shows you where to go if you happen to be a stargazer.
- Mauna Kea, Hawaii
Its easy to spot stars if you are at a high enough altitude, but if the location can give much more than stargazing, so much the better. At an altitude of 13,800 ft, atop the volcano, you’ll find observatories and public telescopes to use. The dry climate is an added bonus
- Trysil, Norway
If you have been a fan of the aurora borealis, a light phenomenon that occurs in the very northern hemisphere, this is the place to be. It’s a cold desert but rewards you with beautiful sights of the Milky Way along with the northern lights.
- Easter Island
In the far off recesses of the Pacific Ocean, lies the Easter Island, more famously known for its stone figureheads than anything else. But for people with a thing for astronomy, they are a thing of beauty and joy forever. As a matter of fact, Polynesian explorers and settlers relied heavily on the stars to guide them to this island.
- Atacama Desert, Chile
One of the highest and driest places on Earth, the Atacama Desert boasts of being near completely lifeless for much of the year, and is a stargazer’s dream thanks to its height and large distance from human civilization. It is now the site of the Alma Observatory, which is no small thing.
- Aoraki Mackenzie Dark Sky Reserve, New Zealand
The southern hemisphere provides great avenues for witnessing the Magellanic Clouds, the two sister galaxies orbiting the Milky Way. Also of particular interest is the Southern Cross, and both can be observed through the Aoraki Mackenzie Dark Sky Reserve in New Zealand. Guided tours are not hard to find, and they are recommended.
- Death Valley National Park, USA
This is a bit like the Atacama Desert but is a lot more American in its approach. Since it is close to Los Angeles, there is an annual Dark sky party that is held that brings together astronomy enthusiasts from all across the nation. It is also dry and dark most of the time so its your safest bet to witness the wonders of the universe if you live in the States.
- Hanle, Leh, India
The Himalayas are renowned the world over for the highest mountain peaks on the planet, and with such heights comes the natural ability to see the heavens in their true form. There are umpteen places in the Himalayas that provide grand vistas to the sky with icy mountain peaks in the foreground. But Hanle, a place near the town of Leh, is special in its own right. Its a beautiful village with a state of the art observatory that will take your breath away with its sheer beauty and crystal clear night skies.
- Nova Scotia, Canada
If you are in Canada and its summertime, you would be losing a lot if you don’t visit Nova Scotia. Canada as a whole is beautiful in its own right but the crystal clear skies that you get during the summer months in Nova Scotia, coupled with the fact that the place is steeped in history from explorers all over the world during the middle ages, this is the place to be just for the sake of fulfilling the wanderlust, and a peek into the magnanimous heavens.
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