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The 7 Best Places in the World to See Stars

posted in: World  |  posted by: Jennifer Gregory on November 4, 2009  |  No Comments

Want to catch a glimpse of the stars? Head away from Los Angeles and Hollywood and find yourself a patch of clear land with an unobstructed view of the skies above you.

Noon skies in Alaska are always a surprise

We guarantee you’ll see more stars in the sky than you will anywhere else in the world. They’re beautiful and amazing and you’ll be glad you made the trip to see them.

7. Monte-Megantic National Park – Quebec, Canada

Parc du Mont Megantic 3

Travel around 145 miles east, away from Montreal, and you’ll find the astounding Mont-Megantic National Park in Quebec, Canada.

Parc du Mont Megantic 5

The park is part of what is known as the Dark Sky Reserve, a dedicated plot of Canadian land earmarked for work designed to preserve the amazing views of the night sky from the area. The park is also home to the esteemed ASTROLab where astronomers regularly interpret what they see in the skies.

6. Joshua Tree National Park – California

Joshua Tree at Sunset, Joshua Tree National Park

Considered part of the California national parks system, Joshua Tree National Park is one of the best places in the country for stargazing. The skies here are so clear, and the park is so popular, the Andromeda Astromonical Society has chosen the park as the home of its monthly start gazing party. Joshua Tree is an amazing place to visit if you want to catch a clear view of the Milky Way.

5. Atacama Desert – Chile

chile 608

In the Atacama Desert in Chile you may be discouraged at finding yourself at high altitudes and breathing some pretty dry air. On the other hand, you’ll be breathing some of the least polluted air on the planet and, as such, gazing into some of the cleanest skies – the perfect place to check out the stars.

The Highlands of Atacama desert, Chile

Make sure you visit the Observatorio Cerro Mamalluca while you’re in the desert. They offer public tours and will educate you about the stars you can see from Atacama Desert.

4. Southern Africa

A sunset on the southern barrier

It’s hard to pinpoint just one great stargazing destination in Southern Africa as there aren’t many areas that will disappoint you. Southern Africa isn’t incredibly populated so the lack of people equals minimal pollution, meaning the skies will be clearer than they would be in a rural setting.

Karoo National Park, South Africa

If you head towards Cape Town or Sutherland you’ll find the South African Astronomical Observatory where you can catch a glimpse of the stars under the guidance of some of the area’s most dedicated astronomers.

3. Valentia Island – Ireland

Valentia Island-Across the harbor from Port Magee

The skies along the western coast of Ireland are particularly dark. These cloudless skies may make you feel as though you’re part of an eerie movie but when you look up above you’ll be astounded by what you see. Valentia Island is one of the most recommended (and most popular) places to see the stars in Ireland. Plan to spend an evening or two in the area, either camping or renting a vacation home on the island.

2. Hawaii – United States

Manua Kea Beach

Want to enjoy a tropical getaway and catch a glimpse of an astoundingly clear night sky? Head to any Hawaiian destination and you’ll be astounded at the stargazing opportunities that present themselves. If you head towards Manua Kea you can visit one of the largest observatories in the world. Just make sure you visit before 2025, the year scientists expect to find that all of the dark skies in the United States will be permanently polluted.

1. Wiruna – New South Wales, Australia

In the middle of the woods of New South Wales you’ll stumble upon a 100 square acre section of land that is completely clear and protected, reserved for dedicated stargazers. Owned by local astronomers, the area is home to some of the darkest skies in the world – perfect for stargazing either during the annual South Pacific Star Party or at any other time throughout the year.

Take advantage of any opportunity you can get to stargaze. As the world becomes more polluted, areas with clear dark skies will become few and far between. Before you know it, stargazing will be a thing of the past. Make sure you enjoy the experience while you still can.

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