The best places to stargaze in the world are far from humans, light and air pollution. There’s nothing quite like experiencing brilliant, glimmering stars away from artificial light. Here are some of the best sites for interstellar observation that will have your jaw dropping in awe.
Cherry Springs State Park, Pennsylvania
Cherry Springs State Park, named after its black cherry trees, is a gold level dark sky park with its own astronomy field. The 82-acre park is set atop a hill surrounded by the Susquehannock State Forest and free from light pollution, offering a clear 360-degree view of the night sky. The park hosts stargazing programs and viewing parties throughout the year. The most popular program is hosted in anticipation of the Perseid Meteor Shower.
NamibRand Nature Reserve, Namibia
Africa’s Namib Desert claims some of the darkest skies in the world, far from any human societies and light pollution. Stargaze among the desert’s red sand dunes and white salt pans to see intricate constellations, the vast Milky Way, and possibly some mysterious planets in the distance. Some of the luxury lodges in the desert offer observatories for the perfect stargazing vacation.
Death Valley, California
Death Valley is one of the world’s largest dark sky parks, at about 3.4-million acres. This California park is one of the best places to stargaze, with a dry climate, clean air and an expansive horizon. Catch a clear lunar eclipse, meteor shower or view of the magnificent cosmos during the winter and early spring months, when the temperatures are more comfortable and park rangers lead night sky programs.
Atacama Desert, Chile
The Atacama Desert in Chile boasts the perfect conditions for stargazing: an extremely dry climate, high altitude and low light pollution. This astro-tourist hotspot hosts several top-level observatories with zero cloud cover for clear night skies. The Paranal Observatory, located in the Atacama Desert, is the world’s most advanced visible-light astronomical observatory. The Atacama also holds fun and informational tours regularly for visitors.
Take a stargazing cruise through the Atlantic Ocean to the Canary Islands, where millions of visitors travel each year to see extraterrestrial lights cover the sky from horizon to horizon. The Islands’ ideal stargazing environment has inspired astronomers to install some of the world’s most powerful telescopes on its volcanic peaks. The sky above the territory is also protected by the Law for the Astronomical Quality of the IAC Observatories to preserve the area’s low level of light pollution.