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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 20, 2019

                                How to Control Your Thoughts and Be the Master of Your Mind

                                How to Control Your Thoughts and Be the Master of Your Mind

                                Your mind is the most powerful tool you have for the creation of good in your life, but if not used correctly, can also be the most destructive force in your life.

                                Your mind, more specifically, your thoughts, affect your perception and therefore, your interpretation of reality. (And here’s Why Your Perception Is Your Reality.)

                                I have heard that the average person thinks around 70,000 thoughts a day. That’s a lot, especially if they are unproductive, self-abusive and just a general waste of energy.

                                You can let your thoughts run amok, but why would you? It is your mind, your thoughts; isn’t it time to take your power back? Isn’t it time to take control?

                                Choose to be the person who is actively, consciously thinking your thoughts. Become the master of your mind.

                                When you change your thoughts, you will change your feelings as well, and you will also eliminate the triggers that set off those feelings. Both of these outcomes provide you with a greater level of peace in your mind.

                                I currently have few thoughts that are not of my own choosing or a response from my reprogramming. I am the master of my mind, so now my mind is quite peaceful. Yours can be too!

                                Who Is Thinking My Thoughts?

                                Before you can become the master of your mind, you must recognize that you are currently at the mercy of several unwanted “squatters” living in your mind, and they are in charge of your thoughts. If you want to be the boss of them, you must know who they are and what their motivation is, and then you can take charge and evict them.

                                Here are four of the “squatters” in your head that create the most unhealthy and unproductive thoughts:

                                1. The Inner Critic

                                This is your constant abuser who is often a conglomeration of:

                                • Other people’s words; many times your parents.
                                • Thoughts you have created based on your own or other peoples expectations.
                                • Comparing yourself to other people, including those in the media.
                                • The things you told yourself as a result of painful experiences such as betrayal and rejection. Your interpretation creates your self-doubt and self-blame, which are most likely undeserved in cases of rejection and betrayal.

                                The Inner Critic is motivated by pain, low self-esteem, lack of self-acceptance and lack of self-love.

                                Why else would this person abuse you? And since this person is actually you– why else would you abuse yourself? Why would you let anyone treat you this badly?

                                2. The Worrier

                                This person lives in the future; in the world of “what ifs.”

                                The Worrier is motivated by fear which is often irrational and with no basis for it. Occasionally, this person is motivated by fear that what happened in the past will happen again.

                                3. The Reactor or Trouble-Maker

                                This is the one that triggers anger, frustration and pain. These triggers stem from unhealed wounds of the past. Any experience that is even closely related to a past wound will set him off.

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                                This person can be set off by words or feelings, and can even be set off by sounds and smells.

                                The Reactor has no real motivation and has poor impulse control and is run by past programming that no longer serves you, if it ever did.

                                4. The Sleep Depriver

                                This can be a combination of any number of different squatters including the inner planner, the rehasher, and the ruminator, along with the inner critic and the worrier.

                                The Sleep Depriver’s motivation can be:

                                • As a reaction to silence, which he fights against
                                • Taking care of the business you neglected during the day
                                • Self-doubt, low self-esteem, insecurity and generalized anxiety
                                • As listed above for the inner critic and worrier

                                How can you control these squatters?

                                How to Master Your Mind

                                You are the thinker and the observer of your thoughts. You must pay attention to your thoughts so you can identify “who” is running the show; this will determine which technique you will want to use.

                                Begin each day with the intention of paying attention to your thoughts and catching yourself when you are thinking undesirable thoughts.

                                There are two ways to control your thoughts:

                                • Technique A – Interrupt and replace them
                                • Technique B – Eliminate them altogether

                                This second option is what is known as peace of mind!

                                The technique of interrupting and replacing is a means of reprogramming your subconscious mind. Eventually, the replacement thoughts will become the “go to” thoughts in the applicable situations.

                                Use Technique A with the Inner Critic and Worrier; and Technique B with the Reactor and Sleep Depriver.

                                For the Inner Critic

                                When you catch yourself thinking something negative about yourself (calling yourself names, disrespecting yourself, or berating yourself), interrupt it.

                                You can yell (in your mind), “Stop! No!” or, “Enough! I’m in control now.” Then, whatever your negative thought was about yourself, replace it with an opposite or counter thought or an affirmation that begins with “I am.”

                                For example, if your thought is, “I’m such a loser,” you can replace it with, “I am a Divine Creation of the Universal Spirit. I am a perfect spiritual being learning to master the human experience. I am a being of energy, light, and matter. I am magnificent, brilliant, and beautiful. I love and approve of myself just as I am.”

                                You can also have a dialogue with yourself with the intention of discrediting the ‘voice’ that created the thought, if you know whose voice it is:

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                                “Just because so-and-so said I was a loser doesn’t make it true. It was his or her opinion, not a statement of fact. Or maybe they were joking and I took it seriously because I’m insecure.”

                                If you recognize that you have recurring self-critical thoughts, you can write out or pre-plan your counter thoughts or affirmation so you can be ready. This is the first squatter you should evict, forcefully, if necessary:

                                • They rile up the Worrier.
                                • The names you call yourself become triggers when called those names by others, so he also maintains the presence of the Reactor.
                                • They are often present when you try to fall asleep so he perpetuates the Sleep Depriver.
                                • They are a bully and is verbally and emotionally abusive.
                                • They are the destroyer of self-esteem. They convince you that you’re not worthy. They’re a liar! In the interest of your self-worth, get them out!

                                Eliminate your worst critic and you will also diminish the presence of the other three squatters.

                                Replace them with your new best friends who support, encourage, and enhance your life. This is a presence you want in your mind.

                                For the Worrier

                                Prolonged anxiety is mentally, emotionally and physically unhealthy. It can have long-term health implications.

                                Fear initiates the fight or flight response, creates worry in the mind and creates anxiety in the body.

                                You should be able to recognize a “worry thought” immediately by how you feel. The physiological signs that the fight or flight response of fear has kicked in are:

                                • Increased heart rate, blood pressure, or surge of adrenaline
                                • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
                                • Muscles tense

                                Use the above stated method to interrupt any thought of worry and then replace it. But this time you will replace your thoughts of worry with thoughts of gratitude for the outcome you wish for.

                                If you believe in a higher power, this is the time to engage with it. Here is an example:

                                Instead of worrying about my loved ones traveling in bad weather, I say the following (I call it a prayer):

                                “Thank you great spirit for watching over _______. Thank you for watching over his/her car and keeping it safe, road-worthy, and free of maintenance issues without warning. Thank you for surrounding him/her with only safe, conscientious, and alert drivers. And thank you for keeping him/her safe, conscientious, and alert.”

                                Smile when you think about it or say it aloud, and phrase it in the present tense; both of these will help you feel it and possibly even start to believe it.

                                If you can visualize what you are praying for, the visualization will enhance the feeling so you will increase the impact in your vibrational field.

                                Now take a calming breath, slowly in through your nose, and slowly out through the mouth. Take as many as you like!

                                Replacing fearful thoughts with gratitude will decrease reactionary behavior, taking the steam out of the Reactor.

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                                For example:

                                If your child gets lost in the mall, the typical parental reaction that follows the fearful thoughts when finding them is to yell at them.

                                “I told you never to leave my sight.” This reaction just adds to the child’s fear level from being lost in the first place. Plus, it also teaches them that mom and/or dad will get mad when he or she makes a mistake, which may make them lie to you or not tell you things in the future.

                                Change those fearful thoughts when they happen:

                                “Thank You (your choice of Higher Power) for watching over my child and keeping him safe. Thank you for helping me find him soon.”

                                Then, when you see your child after this thought process, your only reaction will be gratitude, and that seems like a better alternative for all people involved.

                                For the Trouble-Maker, Reactor or Over-Reactor

                                Permanently eliminating this squatter will take a bit more attention and reflection after the fact to identify and heal the causes of the triggers; but until then, you can prevent the Reactor from getting out of control by initiating conscious breathing as soon as you recognize his presence.

                                The Reactor’s thoughts or feelings activate the fight or flight response just like with the Worrier. The physiological signs of his presence will be the same. With a little attention, you should be able to tell the difference between anxiety, anger, frustration, or pain:

                                • Increased heart rate and blood pressure; surge of adrenaline
                                • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
                                • Muscles tension

                                I’m sure you’ve heard the suggestion to count to ten when you get angry—well, you can make those ten seconds much more productive if you are breathing consciously during that time.

                                Conscious breathing is as simple as it sounds; just be conscious of your breathing. Pay attention to the air going in and coming out.

                                Breathe in through your nose:

                                • Feel the air entering your nostrils.
                                • Feel your lungs filling and expanding.
                                • Focus on your belly rising.

                                Breathe out through your nose:

                                • Feel your lungs emptying.
                                • Focus on your belly falling.
                                • Feel the air exiting your nostrils.

                                Do this for as long as you like. Leave the situation if you want. This gives the adrenaline time to normalize.

                                Now you can address the situation with a calmer, more rational perspective and avoid damaging behavior.

                                One of the troubles this squatter causes is that it adds to the sleep depriver’s issues. By evicting, or at least controlling the Reactor, you will decrease reactionary behavior, which will decrease the need for the rehashing and ruminating that may keep you from falling asleep.

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                                Master your mind and stop the Reactor from bringing stress to you and your relationships!

                                For the Sleep Depriver

                                (They’re made up of the Inner Planner, the Rehasher and the Ruminator, along with the Inner Critic and the Worrier.)

                                I was plagued with a very common problem: not being able to turn off my mind at bedtime. This inability prevented me from falling asleep and thus, getting a restful and restorative night’s sleep.

                                Here’s how I mastered my mind and evicted the Sleep Depriver and all his cronies.

                                1. I started by focusing on my breathing—paying attention to the rise and fall of my belly—but that didn’t keep the thoughts out for long. (Actually, I now start with checking my at-rest mouth position to keep me from clenching.)
                                2. Then I came up with replacement strategy that eliminated uncontrolled thinking—imagining the word in while breathing in and thinking the word out when breathing out. I would (and do) elongate the word to match the length of my breath.

                                When I catch myself thinking, I shift back to in, out. With this technique, I am still thinking, sort of, but the wheels are no longer spinning out of control. I am in control of my mind and I choose quiet.

                                From the first time I tried this method I started to yawn after only a few cycles and am usually asleep within ten minutes.

                                For really difficult nights, I add an increase of attention by holding my eyes in a looking-up position (Closed, of course!). Sometimes I try to look toward my third eye but that really hurts my eyes.

                                If you have trouble falling asleep because you can’t shut off your mind, I strongly recommend you try this technique. I still use it every night. You can start sleeping better tonight!

                                You can also use this technique any time you want to:

                                • Fall back to sleep if you wake up too soon.
                                • Shut down your thinking.
                                • Calm your feelings.
                                • Simply focus on the present moment. 

                                The Bottom Line

                                Your mind is a tool, and like any other tool, it can be used for constructive purposes or for destructive purposes.

                                You can allow your mind to be occupied by unwanted, undesirable and destructive tenants, or you can choose desirable tenants like peace, gratitude, compassion, love, and joy.

                                Your mind can become your best friend, your biggest supporter, and someone you can count on to be there and encourage you. The choice is yours!

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                                Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

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