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15 Of The Most Breathtaking Night Skies You’ll Regret Not Seeing

15 Of The Most Breathtaking Night Skies You’ll Regret Not Seeing

No matter where you are on Earth, you don’t have to travel far to see one of the worlds most beautiful night skies.

“All you need to do to enjoy the night sky is find some darkness and tilt your head back.” – Melissa Breyer, Mother Nature Network

But, not all skies are created equal. Some places on Earth offer a view that can knock you off your feet.

Go ahead and make a travel bucket list, and add these 15 breathtaking night skies to your list.

La Palma, Canary Islands

LaPalmaSky
    Stargazing in La Palma from NikonRumors.

    The entire volcanic island of La Palma, part of Spain’s Canary Island, is a Unesco Biosphere Reserve. Currently, the worlds largest telescope, the Gran Telescopio de Canarias, is located in La Palma. It’s become one of the premier night skies observatories on Earth.

    Atacama Desert, Chile

    The night skies in Chile.
      Atacama Desert stargazing from National Geographic.

      The Atacama desert is home to several observatories- and for good reason. It offers unbelievable views of the night sky. While walking around the red-rock desert and looking into the universe, you may just feel like you’re exploring Mars.

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      The Sahara Desert, Egypt

      The night sky over Sahara Desert.

        The Sahara Desert takes up a whopping 10% of the African continent. It’s so big and so hot, that it’s one of the largest uncivilized places on Earth. That means it’s a stargazers heaven, with no intrusive light to be found.

        Namibia-Naukluft National Park, Namibia Desert

        The night sky over the Namibia Desert.
          Namibia Desert sky via Epic Road.

          Do you see the pattern here? Being far away from civilization means a purer way to see the night sky. This desert is perfectly flat, and offers a 360 degree view of the horizon.

          The Empty Quarter, Arabian Peninsula

          Stars over an observatory in the Empty Quarter.
            The Empty Quarter photo from BBC.

            This desert takes up the southeastern part of the Arabian Peninsula. It gets its name because, you guessed it, it’s almost completely empty of people.

            The Himalayas, Kuari Pass India

            A camp site under the stars in the Himalaya Mountains.
              The Himalayas under the stars via National Geographic.

              Imagine the peaks of the world’s largest mountains up against a backdrop of a billion stars. That’s what you get on the Kuari Pass, a popular trail known because it’s the meeting place of five rivers.

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              Hawaii, USA

              Observatory on Hawaii Island.
                Observatory Photo of Hawaii Island from Space.Com.

                The island of Hawaii is the tallest sea mountain on the planet, giving its night skies a unique feel. No where else on Earth are you so high, surrounded by water, AND the heavens. That’s why this star gazing location is home to 11 different countries’ observatories.

                Gingin Observatory, Western Australia

                Gingin observatory in Australia.
                  Gingin Observatory from Robert Ozod.

                  Western Australia is a big place. But the best place to see the night skies is only an hour north of Perth’s city centre.

                  Gingin is the largest public observatory in Australia.

                  Cherry Springs State Park, Pennsylvania, USA

                  Cherry Springs State Park at night.
                    Photo from Photos From Earth.

                    This park was the first listed in Newsiosity’s list of “The 20 Most Spectacular Places on Earth to See the Stars.”

                    The distinct features of this state park make it ideal for those seeking out serious night skies. Most importantly, the location of the park is perfectly positioned to view the center of the Milky Way galaxy.

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                    Connemara, Ireland

                    Connemara Ireland at night.
                      Photo of Connemara, Ireland from Connemara Journal.

                      One of the most western sites in Europe that isn’t spoiled by urban growth. Connemara has become a hotspot for sky gazers because of this, and a lot of accommodation exists here. This is the perfect European destination for a quaint life and seeing the best night skies.

                      Wiruna, New South Wales, Australia

                      Comet flying through the Sky in New South Wales.
                        A comet in the Australia sky from WikiPedia.

                        The second site from Australia to come in on this list has an annual party for stargazers. Yup, whether you’re an amateur or an astrologist, every year in May you’re invited to the South Pacific Star Party. Which is a pretty adorable name for a festival.

                        Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain

                        A stock photo of tenerife night sky

                          The Canary Islands aren’t big in the grand scheme of Earth. However, they still hold two of our top 15 spots for stargazing. For a different kind of star gazing experience, check out Tenerife.

                          Rather than going deep into the wild, or on a secluded mountain top, Tenerife happens to be a luxurious vacation spot that happens to have one of the worlds best observatories.

                          You can even go on a beach-picnic trip and learn about the night skies.

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                          Natural Bridges National Monument, Utah, USA

                          Utah Natural Bridges at night.

                            Natural Bridge in Utah via Places Under the Sun.

                            In 2007, Natural Bridges National Park was named the first dark sky park in the world by the International Dark-Sky Association. What does that mean for non-astrologists? It means that this is the first park in the world recognized by an international star-gazing group for its beautiful night skies.

                            Monte-Magantic Park, Quebec, Canada

                            The observatory in Qubec Canada

                              A photo of the observatory in Quebec, Canada via ricemm.org.

                              If urban-exploring is your type of trip, but you still want to see a breathtaking night sky, then Quebec might be your next vacation. Located not far from Quebec City, this park has an observatory, offers cabins, and stargazing activities. It is also a hot spot for families who just want to be under the night skies.

                              Joshua Tree National Park, California, USA

                              A photo of Joshua Tree State Park at Night

                                A photo of Joshua Tree State Park via Flickr.

                                Joshua Tree National Park boasts some of the darkest nights in Southern California. It also offers some of the best views of the Milky Way on Earth.

                                Whether you live in California, or you’re just visiting, this is the best place to see the night skies in the southwestern corner of the US.

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                                Last Updated on August 13, 2020

                                12 Benefits of Meditation That Improve Your Body And Mind

                                12 Benefits of Meditation That Improve Your Body And Mind

                                As a mediation teacher, I am constantly confronted with these two questions regarding the benefits of meditation:

                                1. Why can’t I enjoy the benefits of meditation continuously?

                                I ask back: Is it maybe because you see mediation as a technique, performance, or some exclusive activity? The answer is: yes!

                                Or, because your mind is constantly evolving on the past negative attachments and traditional habits? After careful thinking they answer: yes, probably!

                                Although meditation is very simple and challenging at the same time, in the above mentioned case, it’s not easy to benefit from meditation, especially when approached with the idea that it has to be learned, studied, or applied. Meditation is to be seen as a natural, mental cleansing process that happens on a basis of awareness on a moment-to-moment experience. When that takes place, the benefits of meditation are continuous.

                                2. What is the purpose of meditation?

                                The purpose of meditation is to accomplish a level of consciousness for mastering the mind and uniting with the finest, deepest, and subtlest part of yourself as a being.

                                It is a conscious process of observation of the mind—helping the meditator to understand the structure of its mind and the quality of its content. During this process, countless benefits of a physical, mental, and spiritual/philosophical nature arise for the meditator.

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                                Meditation as a Fixer and Benefactor

                                In this article we’ll have a look at the primary and the ultimate benefits of mediation, which improve your body and mind at the same time. For the sake of clarity, readability, and tangible experience, I have separated the benefits into three groups.

                                You can change just about anything you don’t like about yourself (psychologically, as well as physically) through meditation. However, this is only possible with a specific approach, when your brain allows the benefits of meditation to do their work.

                                This means not to interrupt the benefit with other thoughts, but to let their effect implement itself in your body and mind. This approach is crucial.

                                The following exercises will make you feel the benefits of meditation instantly, but the continuity of the benefits of meditation on your body and mind depend on the discipline of your brain, how you manage external stimuli and your thoughts.

                                Less Physical, More Psychological

                                Even though the practice of meditation is more psychological and less physical, the first benefit we’re going to experience is both physical as well as mental.

                                This benefit happens literally immediately, right at the moment of meditation. It is the essence of mediation basically.

                                The First Benefit of Meditation

                                The first benefit of meditation is twofold:

                                1. Improving inward attention (sharpening the mind)
                                2. Relaxation of the body

                                Let’s do it right now. This benefit consists of only one step, and it is very simple to perform. It goes like this:

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                                Sit still and pay attention to your exhalation.

                                That’s it! Technically, the whole journey into the world of mediation begins here and nowhere else. And right here, you benefit from this step in the following way:

                                When you pay attention to the flow of your exhalation (gentle, deep, effortless exhalation), your body begins with the process of relaxation instantly (your heart rate slows down, your nervous system calms, and tension in your muscles is relieved).

                                When the nervous system calms, your mind calms down, and, more specifically, less thoughts are produced by your mind. How, exactly? By applying one of the most valuable mental skills—attention—the mind follows the breathing and has no space and time to generate any other thoughts. Only when the attention goes off the breath, other thoughts are constructed, and the mind is accelerating with thought production again.

                                Keeping the First Benefit Effective and Ongoing

                                Here you apply the approach of not letting the relaxation and attention process get interrupted; rather let the effects of these benefits implant in your body and mind as deeply as possible.

                                This is to say, the instant relaxation and inward attention happen at the same time when you follow the flow of your breath. Repeating this process—creating a constant rhythm out of the breathing and the attention—you create a process of meditation.

                                Keep your attention on the flow of your breath and see how the calmness of body and mind begin to rule your present moment. The longer you stay connected to your breathing, the stronger you’ll feel the benefit. Start with 3-5 minutes at a time without doing anything else, and increase to 10-20 minutes and onwards.

                                Can you think of a better, simpler and quicker exercise that can relax the body and improve attention in this way, at this speed?

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                                This benefit takes you to the second one.

                                The Second Benefit of Meditation

                                While still working with the first benefit of mediation, you slowly start to see the second benefit of mediation, which is fourfold. I call it the major value of mediation:

                                1. Energy (physical and mental strength)
                                2. Observance
                                3. Peacefulness (stillness, and space of mind for deeper observation)
                                4. Patience

                                Peacefulness is the source of a blissful life. The energy is the fuel to express that blissfulness. Whatever we want to accomplish in life we need: 1) Physical and mental strength, 2) Observance of that energy, 3) Peacefulness—the calmness and stillness that creates space for freedom of being and creative thinking, and 4) Patience for the process of accomplishment.

                                You can only get creative in thinking and boosted with physical and mental energy when you get in touch with the deepest levels of yourself—when you harmonize your mental and physiological activities. How do you do that? Let’s try it right now:

                                This step involves the observation of the two separate movements of your breath. After paying attention on your exhalation, you have prepared your body and mind to really see and feel what true peacefulness and true energy means.

                                1. Energy

                                Keep your attention on your inhalation (inhaling gently, deeply and lightly) and feel the new energy (new oxygen) flowing in your body. The inhalation is the symbol for aliveness and vitality. It is the the primary act that connects the baby’s body with the outside world after coming out of the womb[1]. Each inhalation is a new opportunity for your body to revive, regenerate, and renew itself.

                                2. Observance

                                The observance comes during the process of meditation, enabling you to see the physiological benefits of introducing new energy to your body. Use that benefit by utilizing its effects, and create deeper observation into yourself. With every single inhalation, this observation will enable you to generate even more energy, mentally and physically.

                                3. Peacefulness

                                Keep your attention on your exhalation, and feel how, out of the relaxation, peacefulness is spreading throughout your whole body. The exhalation is the symbol for relaxation and peacefulness. Only through meditation can you realize what absolute peacefulness means.

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                                4. Patience

                                The meditation delivers the previous benefits to you immediately and opens up the possibility for many other benefits and great virtues. A specific one to mention, which is essential for reaching the ultimate benefits of meditation, is patience. If you have experienced the aforementioned benefits, it means that you have invested a certain amount of patience into mastering yourself and your mind.

                                The Ultimate Benefits of Meditation

                                Patience is a key quality when it comes to the ultimate benefits of meditation.

                                Since the mind is the tool that reveals everything, mediation is the method for the proper utility of the tool.

                                The above mentioned benefits of mediation lead to the ultimate benefits of mediation—qualities that depict what makes a human being human. As you dwell in a meditative state of being, the following benefits begin to emanate:

                                • Diligence: the persistence for righteous effort to reach an intrinsic value; inner strength.
                                • Temperance: to express self-control and show excellence in managing the physio-biological and mental necessities
                                • Courage: using righteous effort and braveness to look into the weaknesses of yourself and at the hardship of your life, endure it and patiently overcome the obstacles
                                • Loving kindness and Compassion – a capacity to care, understand, and tolerate other people’s state of being, wishing them freedom from suffering.
                                • Wisdom: the moment when you feel that mediation gives you the feeling and the knowledge that what you do relating to life and practical affairs is just.
                                • Equanimity: that puts you in a state of composure, and you experience an ongoing blissful state of being.

                                These are the 6 ultimate benefits of meditation that put your body and mind in a state of health and balance.

                                Final Thoughts

                                Mediation exists to put order in your mind and awaken the best of you, to reconnect you to your goodness and your inborn intelligent capabilities.

                                Meditation is the window to your true Self. It gives you a panoramic view of your heart’s greatness. It shows you the true meaning of love, freeing you from the dungeons of ignorance and despair. The power of meditation dismantles the evil that’s trying to cloud the beauty of your heart.

                                Your heart, body, and soul are the bridge over which the challenges of life frequently carry their heavy load. Meditation is the support of that bridge. Make use of that support.

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                                Featured photo credit: Mor Shani via unsplash.com

                                Reference

                                [1] Medline Plus: Changes in the newborn at birth

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