15 Best Place To Stargaze In The World

Due to city lights and air pollution, the closest most city dwellers come to stargazing is reading the most recent celebrity rumors while waiting in line at the grocery store. However, there is nothing quite like gazing up into a wide night sky studded with planets, constellations, and shooting stars. More than 200 locations, including cities, national parks, and nature reserves, are recognized by the International Dark-Sky Association (IDA), which was established in 1988. These locations protect the planet’s darkest, starriest skies.

On its list of locations honoring the Astronomical Heritage, UNESCO also recognizes a number of recognized Starlight Reserves. These breathtaking locations for stargazing provide tourists the chance to discover more about the cosmos and re-connect with the amazing planet we all call home. Here are some of the top 15 best place to stargaze in the world, from Namibia to Utah.

1. Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah

Bryce Canyon, one of many national parks in the southwest of the United States, is notable for its bizarre-looking hoodoo rock formations and its particularly bright night skies. The more isolated stargazing and astronomy programs is better at the more than 35,000-acre national park in Utah because it receives less visitors than the Grand Canyon, which is also a nearby International Dark Sky Park. Visitors can observe up to 7,500 stars, a horizon-to-horizon view of the Milky Way, and sightings of both Venus and Jupiter on the park’s nightly expeditions conducted by the expert Astronomy Rangers.

15 Best Place To Stargaze In The World

2. Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve, New Zealand

In order to recognize the exceptional opportunities for viewing the Best Place To Stargaze In The World that exist in the Mackenzie Basin in the South Island, the Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve was established in New Zealand in 2012. Aoraki/Mount Cook and Lake Tekapo Earth and Sky visitor centers offer guided tours of the planetarium, telescope locations, and observatories at this one of only 16 Dark Sky Reserves in the globe. In the reserve that makes up Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park, on clear nights, it is frequently possible to see the Southern Cross, the Southern Star, and the Aurora Australis, all with the park’s namesake peak (rising to a height of more than 12,000 feet) in the background.

3. NamibRand Nature Reserve, Namibia

The closest populated settlements are at least 60 miles apart, making the NamibRand Nature Reserve one of the “naturally darkest (yet accessible) places on Earth,” according to the IDA. The Namib Desert Environmental Education Trust (NaDEET) Center, which oversees educational environmental initiatives in the region (primarily for local kids), protects the territory, which spans close to 500,000 acres in southwestern Namibia. Visitors interested in stargazing in the NamibRand Nature Reserve should check out the Wolwedans camps and lodges, where guests may reserve an eco-friendly overnight stay in the starry desert.

15 Best Place To Stargaze In The World

4. La Palma and Tenerife, Canary Islands

Three “Starlight Reserves” established by the non-profit Starlight Foundation and certified by UNESCO are located on the Canary Islands. Although the Atlantic Ocean’s chain of islands offers clear views of the night sky, the expanding astro-tourism business normally directs both professional and amateur astronomers to La Palma and Tenerife. Three observatories established by the Tenerife-based Instituto de Astrofsica de Canarias are located on these two islands. On these islands, the Garajonay Summit, San Bartolo Mountain, El Palmar viewpoint, and Guajara Mountain are some of the greatest locations for observing the night sky.

5. Mauna Kea, Hawaii

The Big Island’s dormant volcano Mauna Kea boasts the state’s highest summit in addition to some of the best astronomy in the area. The Onizuka Center for International Astronomy Visitor Information Station offers nightly stargazing events and specialist tours with telescopes for visitors and is located about halfway up Mauna Kea, which rises to about 14,000 feet above sea level. From there, guests can go to the volcano’s peak either on their own four-wheel drive expedition or in a group setting. (However, it is advisable that passengers take a break around the halfway point to adapt to the significant elevation shift.)

A night trail scene on Hawaii’s Mauna Kea volcano.

6. Sagarmatha National Park, Nepal

In addition to its stargazing, Sagarmatha National Park in Nepal is well-known among frequent travelers as the location of Mount Everest, the world’s highest summit. However, in order to have a memorable trip to the area, travelers do not necessarily need to be prepared to hike the slopes of this not-so-gentle monster. Adventurers can glimpse the towering Mount Everest surrounded by a wide night sky and sprinkling of dazzling stars from a lower-altitude forested area in the national park that has a number of hiking paths on slightly more reachable mountain summits.

7. Kerry International Dark Sky Reserve, Ireland

The Iveragh Peninsula and the Wild Atlantic Way are located in the southwest of Ireland, where the Kerry International Dark Sky Reserve is located. The nine populated settlements that make up this area of land between the Atlantic Ocean and the Kerry Mountains offer a breathtakingly black and starry sky at night. Visitors to this rural region of Ireland have a choice of many locally owned hotels (or camping!) inside the reserve, and they may even hire an expert astronomer to act as their Stargazing Guide.

8. Denali National Park Reserve, Alaska

Grizzly bears, caribou, and other wild animals inhabit Alaska’s 6-million-acre Denali National Park and Preserve, which also houses the highest mountain peak in North America. Denali National Park visitors are advised to look up since throughout the majority of the year, stars, planets, and even the aurora borealis (northern lights) can be viewed in the black night sky. The pristine landscape is free of light and noise pollution and is useful for more than just taking in the scenery. The greatest times to visit the national park for stargazing are in the fall, winter, or spring when there are extended darkness hours for hours of amazing astronomy.

9. Atacama Desert and Elqui Valley, Chile

Due to its low rainfall, elevation, and absence of light pollution, the larger Atacama-Elqui region of Chile is the “North Star” of astro-tourism—at least on Earth. The 90,000-acre Elqui Valley, famous for producing wine, was named the first International Dark Sky Sanctuary in 2015. The Nobel Prize-winning poet from the 20th century, Gabriela Mistral, who was born and reared in Chile, is remembered by the name of the Gabriela Mistral Dark Sky Sanctuary. About five hours north of the Elqui Valley is the tourist-friendly town of San Pedro de Atacama, which has a variety of affordable hostels and luxurious hotel options in the Atacama Desert, including the eco-friendly Atacama Lodge, which arranges local stargazing expeditions.

10. Uluru, Australia

The Sounds of Silence tour at Ayers Rock Resort starts at sunset, when the well-known rock formations of Uluru and Kata Tjuta burn a brilliant red ($234 per adult for a four-hour journey, including dinner and refreshments). After a short journey across the dunes to a breathtaking vantage point, participants sit down to eat Australian cuisine outside. Once twilight has fallen, one of the resort’s star talkers leads diners to celestial monuments in the southern sky and explains the significance of the stars in the culture of Uluru’s first occupants, the Aboriginal Anangu people. The hotel also offers a 54-per-adult family-friendly Astro Tour that takes visitors on an hour-long astronomy excursion.

11. Greater Big Bend International Dark Sky Reserve, Texas and Mexico

Approximately 9 million acres of protected nighttime darkness cross the border in southwestern Texas and northern Mexico, making it the largest land region on Earth now protected for dark skies. Although Big Bend National Park is the only protected area included in the reserve by name, it also includes Big Bend Ranch State Park, Black Gap Wildlife Management Area, and Maderas del Carmen, Ocampo, and Caón de Santa Elena in Mexico. The first binational International Dark Sky Reserve exists here. Here, visitors can participate in guided night sky programs run by park rangers to learn more about the universe and the value of conserving natural darkness. The Milky Way throws a brilliant, dappled illumination across the black canvas.

12. Death Valley National Park, California and Nevada

Any location that collaborates with NASA to host an annual dark sky festival must be excellent celestially. The lowest elevation on Earth, at 282 feet below sea level, lies here, where a huge desert landscape provides an exceptional setting for nighttime exploration.Rangers give talks and presentations about protecting and valuing the night sky throughout the summer. They recommend checking out the Park to Park in the Dark tour, which links Death Valley and Great Basin National Park, for those who want to extend their vacation.

13. Dome A, Antarctica

A distant location in Antarctica has been identified as the best place in the world for stargazing because of its clear skies, consistent weather, and wide, empty plain of ice. The Dome A (Dome Argus) location is 900 kilometers from the South Pole and is situated in Antarctica south of Australia’s Davis Station. Astronomers might have to travel a distance to get there, but stargazers can already see the stars, which implies they are considerably clearer than anywhere else.

Despite being one of the coldest and most isolated places on Earth, Dome A has mostly remained uninhabited and unaltered. There are four factors which makes Dome A the perfect spot for a telescope: the high altitude, low temperature, elongated periods of darkness, and stable atmosphere.

14. Jasper National Park, Alberta, Canada

Jasper National Park, one of the largest dark-sky reserves in the world, is the perfect location for amateur astronomy because to its consistently occurring northern lights and extremely low levels of light pollution. There are several places to look at the sky, from the Jasper Planetarium to the yearly Dark Sky Festival in October. Not only is the sky awe-inspiring, but the Canadian Rockies’ surroundings are also amazing.

15. Torngat Mountains National Park, Newfoundland, Canada

Torngat Mountains National Park is for seasoned outdoor enthusiasts. Only reachable by boat or private plane, its isolation makes it the ideal destination for people who want a challenge. Northern lights are extremely bright and frequent, so the sight is worth the extra effort. An extraordinary journey is created when Inuit culture, astronomy, and beautiful landscapes come together.

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