Stargazing is nothing related to the big organizations and institutes only, it is something many people wish to do far and often. The main idea behind stargazing is looking continuously at the stars during the night for the peace and comfort of mind.
The wish for stargazing can be aroused to anybody at any time and anyplace. We would all like to gaze at the stars while lying outside or on the roof.
When talking about where to begin, the main question that arises in mind is about the best stargazing conditions and spots for it. Undoubtedly, there are particular weather, atmosphere and environmental conditions that can make stargazing amazing or can even spoil the whole experience. These conditions, spots and steps are discussed below.
Best Conditions for Stargazing
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Best stargazing can be achieved only when the night is dark and dry, the sky is clear and there is no haze. Moreover, the environment should be pollution free. The speed of winds should also be low.
Prior information about these conditions can be gained by regional weather forecasting website or service. You can use such websites and put your area code to get best weather conditions for stargazing.
Moonlight plays an important role to make stargazing interesting. The bright moon can give such a scattered light that it can obscure the stars to make the experience interesting. On the other hand, the late rising moon or an early setting moon can make the stargazing experience unlikely.
Even in the presence of the moon, many planets and meteor can be seen.
Information about the moon can also be obtained from meteorological department’s website.
Light Pollution that is the excessively obtrusive artificial light can make the stargazing experience worse. Such light pollution has nothing to do with the moonlight; in fact, this is the artificial light that is contributed by humans. It is a sort of over illumination that can serve in the discomfort of stargazer. Check out IDA if you want to know more.3
Another thing that contributes to the best stargazing condition is the suitable location. Stargazing can be done from anywhere at any time of the night as long as the sky is dark and clear with little scattering of light. Places away from the city can be darker and hence more suitable for stargazing. Remember:
Best stargazing can be achieved when the individual is comfortable from within. Most of the time, the nights on the roof and outdoor are too cold. Such cold weather or nights can come in the way of peaceful and interesting stargazing.
Therefore, unless weather it’s hot enough, it is recommended to wear a coat, a hat and other warm clothes before going for stargazing. Such prior planning and preparation can make you stargaze comfortably.
Body position is also a factor. A person can simply opt for turning his head directly up to the sky for long time. This is a fine arrangement, but lying this way for too long is unsuitable for your neck, as it will soon cause neck ache. If this happens, the most suitable arrangement is to lie straight, with the head up looking at the sky.
When gazing at stars, care must be taken to overcome atmospheric perturbation. Atmospheric perturbation can be seen in images of stars due to the turbulence of Earth’s Atmosphere. Anyway it can be avoided by employing many techniques or by using suitable telescopes. It can represent a serious issue for meteorological departments, but common stargazers should not worry about it.
Top 10 Stargazing Travel Destinations
One of the easiest ways of soothe and satisfaction is to stare at the sky, watching the stars, planets and far-away galaxies and immerse yourself into this endless pleasure. We are blessed with thousands of such infinite natural nightscapes. However, nowadays this natural beauty is somehow exploited by the city’s artificial light and several other factors.
But not all hopes are lost, as some places in the world still offers great stargazing conditions to those who owns the right instrument, which is often defined as Grab and Go telescope.
Province of Santa Cruz de Tenerife – Canary Islands
One of the most prominent locations for stargazing, thanks to its low light pollution and pure night sky environment. It is the home of one of the most developed astronomical observatories around the globe, the Teide Observatory.
The right place to observe the complete northern hemisphere and part of the southern hemisphere. The Teide National Park provides an outstanding feature of the island’s skies, pulling the attention of visitors and scientists from all over the globe. Nowadays, many tourist companies suggests unique stargazing walks and astrophotography excursions to its guests.
Officially the Republic of Chile – South America
Chile is probably the perfect place for astronomy, due to its elevated plateaus, natural skies and little moisture in the environment. The atmosphere of this country is fantastic for stargazers.
The Atacama Desert of Chile confers ideal conditions, including tall altitude and dry atmosphere with no pollution, making it a wonderful place to stargaze.
Don’t forget to visit the la Silla Paranal Observatory, where Sci-fi-like huge telescopes are located. Chile is also home of the largest and most powerful earth based observatories in the world. The Observatorio Cerro Mamalluca is one of them, and it offers free tours.
The 50th U.S. State
Hawaii is often listed among well-considered destinations for observing planets, stars and galaxies. that is unaffected by light pollution.
The highest mountain on the Big Island, the volcano of Mauna Kea, is one of the greatest place on the island series that offers unforgettable memories to its night time visitors.
Unaffected by light pollution, offering clear air, dry atmosphere and freezing temperatures.
Hawaii is listed as one of the strongest competitors of Chile. The Keck Observatory and one biggest ocular telescope of the world are located here.
Officially the Republic of Namibia – Southern Africa
The Namib Desert offers striking night sky sightings through its dry desert air and never-ending panoramas, while allowing fine options for open viewing. Sossusvlei Mountain Lodge is among the finest stargazing locations that has a computerized telescope.
The South African Astronomical Observatory in Sutherland and Cape Town presents several trips. The entire setting is so glorious; surrounding the largest sand dunes of the world and the biggest natural reserves in southern Africa. Kruger National Park and the Namib Rand Nature Reserve are among the best stargazing locations in the continent.
Officially the Commonwealth of Australia
The village of Arkaroola in Southern Australia is among those stargazing destinations in the southern hemisphere that has observatories offering exploration of the mountain scenery, a sanctuary of wilderness and dark skies. Arkaroola Astronomical Observatory also has a star chair as an added attraction for astronomers.
Sydney Observatory is the most easily reachable place situated near Sydney Harbor. Uluru, the Ayers Rock is a luminous location in the heart of Australia that offers a spectacular experience of the darkness.
Southwestern Pacific Ocean
One of the most important location in our top 10 stargazing travel destinations.
Many great observatories are located in this country, like the Auckland Stardome and the Mount John Observatory. The Mount John Observatory is a splendid spot in the Southern Alps, which is situated in the Lake Tekapo township, and allows clear views of the skies.
The world’s biggest dark sky reserve, Aoraki Mackenzie, is located in New Zealand and has the most important observatory of the country. Various stargazing locations include the Aoraki Mount Cook National Park, the villages of Lake Tekapo, Twizel, Mount Cook and Te Wahipounamu, which is located in the South West and is well known between astronomers for its nighttime exploration possibilities.
Part of the United Kingdom
Scotland offers the darkest skies for a stargazing destination in Europe. The northern lights are also observable from time to time. In the Scottish moorlands an organization called Dark Sky Scotland, currently defends the dark sky areas.
Galloway Forest Park is the home of the Scottish Dark Sky Observatory. Various hotels offer resting areas that provide complete isolation. The Tay Forest Park and Rannoch Moor are other stargazing destinations located around Loch Rannoch.
An island in the Mediterranean Sea – Balearic Islands
The islands of Mallorca are natural wonders not affected by pollution. Home of various observatories like an international observatory in the countryside town of Costitx, and furthermore the Observatorio Astronomico de Mallorca, that has an operational planetarium, presenting open sky gazing and a brilliant view of Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn using their powerful telescopes.
Officially the Republic of Kenya – African Great Lakes region – Eastern Africa
Kenya is among those African territories that provide an opportunity to sleep under a sky full of stars.
Loisaba is also one of them, offering protected star beds to spend all the night under a blanket of stars. The Western hotel in Nairobi offers a special gathering for their guests who are astronomy fans. They can enjoy a documentary of a tour of a solar eclipse in Turkana.
Southwestern and Western regions of United States
New Mexico is the best place for space exploration with its tall elevations and plain skies free from fogs.
A chain of huge radio astronomy antennas, known as the Very Large Array, and a commercial spaceport, Spaceport America, near the White Sands Missile Range – still under construction – are positioned here. Its towering mountains permit an outstanding and proper study of the planets Venus and Mercury. Chaco Culture National Historic Park in the northwestern New Mexico is a perfect dark spot to gaze at a night.