Did you know that Sunday is National Astronomy Day? With fewer city lights and clearer skies in many destinations, being on holiday is a great opportunity for you to do some stargazing. But where in the world offers the best vantage point? Read on to discover our favourite places where you can witness the beautiful sky at night…
This little island off the West African coastline offers great views of an unpolluted night sky, perfect for seeing the stars. Mallorca also has a working observatory which boasts access to powerful telescopes for you to get an even closer look at the stars and planets.
Where better to look at the night sky than the home of one of the most famous astronomers of all time? It was in Tuscany that 17th century astronomer Galileo turned his telescope to the sky and discovered many of the astronomical phenomena that we still study today, such as sun spots and Jupiter’s moons.
If you want to learn about the stars just like Galileo did, then head to the Arcetri Astrophysical Observatory outside Florence, which is near where he spent his final days. Round off your astronomical experience with a trip to Florence’s Institute and Museum of the History of Science, where you can see a lot of his old instruments and stargazing tools.
In the same group of islands as Mallorca, Tenerife also offers some great unspoiled views of the night sky. The Teide Observatory is tucked away high up in the mountains, away from the crowded resorts and beaches, so it offers some really spectacular views on a clear night.
And if you fancy getting up-close-and-personal to the astrological landscape, be sure to explore the rugged island’s environment during the day. According to Neil Armstrong, Mount Teide National Park is the closest you will get to walking on the moon without… you know… walking on the moon.
Miles away from any kind of light pollution, it’s no wonder that the Caribbean is perfect for gazing at the stars. While you can simply lie down on the beach and look upwards on one of the sparsely populated islands such as Barbados, jumping on a cruise ship and seeing the stars at sea is a really unique experience in this part of the world. Consider going on Cunard’s Queen Mary 2, which has the world’s only planetarium at sea!
If you want to explore one of the most modern and impressive telescopes in the world, then head to Arizona or California. Being at the forefront of space exploration, naturally the United States has some of the most technologically advanced equipment available. The Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles is popular with locals, and it is open to all for viewing when there are no clouds around. However, if you would rather find your own vantage point then go to the California desert, which can offer great views of the night sky when it is dark and clear.
Have you ever been on a stargazing holiday? Let us know in the comments!