Spectacular stargazing spots around the globe
There is so much light pollution in our towns and cities these days that to truly see the night sky is a rare and beautiful thing. Here are seven places where you can still gaze at the galaxies far far away and realise how small we really are.
1. Galloway Forest Park, Scotland
This was the first area in the UK to receive the accolade of Dark Sky Park status from the International Dark Sky Association (IDA), which aims to preserve and protect our dark skies from light pollution. The status means it is one of the darkest places in the Western World and is a remarkable place to see the stars. Best leave your flashlight in the car!
2. Kiruna, Sweden
Only 120 miles North of the Arctic Circle, this remote town is not only a prime spot for stargazing but to see the Northern Lights. The town is in complete darkness for December and January and people travel the world to see the mesmerizing spectacle of Aurora Borealis.
As a group of islands located in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, there are incredibly dark skies here making it one of the most important places in the world to view the stars. The most famous spot is high up on the Mauna Kea Summit at the Keck Observatory, where stargazers flock to see the constellations.
4. La Fortuna, Costa Rica
This is one of the few places in the world where it is possible to see the Magellanic Cloud, two galaxies first identified by Ferdinand Magellan way back in the 1520s. Found near the Arenal Volcano in northern Costa Rica, it is best seen from mid-December to mid-April.
5. Natural Bridges National Monument, Utah, USA
Best known for its ancient bridges, the second largest natural bridge in the world is here, it was also the first Dark Sky Park, recognized by the IDA in the world, meaning it has some of the darkest skies in the USA to be able to see the wonders of the night sky.
6. Kruger National Park, South Africa
This is the largest game reserve in South Africa and the dark skies make it a magical place to see the Southern Cross, Scorpio and rings of Saturn. Just make sure you don’t tread on a lion when you are staring skyward!
7. Atacama Desert, Chile
As the highest desert on earth, with a high altitude and perfectly clean air, this dry region makes the ideal destination to see the starry skies of the Southern Hemisphere. The Paranal Observatory is located here and is home to the world’s largest telescope. Impressive stats!
Have you seen some dark, starry skies recently? Let us know where you think the best places are to go star-gazing, we would love to hear from you.