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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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                                Face Adversity with a Smile

                                Face Adversity with a Smile

                                I told my friend Graham that I often cycle the two miles from my house to the town centre but unfortunately there is a big hill on the route. He replied, ‘You mean fortunately.’ He explained that I should be glad of the extra exercise that the hill provided.

                                My attitude to the hill has now changed. I used to grumble as I approached it but now I tell myself the following. This hill will exercise my heart and lungs. It will help me to lose weight and get fit. It will mean that I live longer. This hill is my friend. Finally as I wend my way up the incline I console myself with the thought of all those silly people who pay money to go to a gym and sit on stationery exercise bicycles when I can get the same value for free. I have a smug smile of satisfaction as I reach the top of the hill.

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                                Problems are there to be faced and overcome. We cannot achieve anything with an easy life. Helen Keller was the first deaf and blind person to gain a University degree. Her activism and writing proved inspirational. She wrote, “Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experiences of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired and success achieved.”

                                One of the main determinants of success in life is our attitude towards adversity. From time to time we all face hardships, problems, accidents, afflictions and difficulties. Some are of our making but many confront us through no fault of our own. Whilst we cannot choose the adversity we can choose our attitude towards it.

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                                Douglas Bader was 21 when in 1931 he had both legs amputated following a flying accident. He was determined to fly again and went on to become one of the leading flying aces in the Battle of Britain with 22 aerial victories over the Germans. He was an inspiration to others during the war. He said, “Don’t listen to anyone who tells you that you can’t do this or that. That’s nonsense. Make up your mind, you’ll never use crutches or a stick, then have a go at everything. Go to school, join in all the games you can. Go anywhere you want to. But never, never let them persuade you that things are too difficult or impossible.”

                                How can you change your attitude towards the adversity that you face? Try these steps:

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                                1. Confront the problem. Do not avoid it.
                                2. Deliberately take a positive attitude and write down some benefits or advantages of the situation.
                                3. Visualise how you will feel when you overcome this obstacle.
                                4. Develop an action plan for how to tackle it.
                                5. Smile and get cracking.

                                The biographies of great people are littered with examples of how they took these kinds of steps to overcome the difficulties they faced. The common thread is that they did not become defeatist or depressed. They chose their attitude. They opted to be positive. They took on the challenge. They won.

                                Featured photo credit: Jamie Brown via unsplash.com

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