With the light pollution from the densely populated cities on the planet growing stronger and stronger, astronomy geeks most often find themselves on the hunt for the perfect spot they can use to explore the night sky unhindered. If you have been wondering what your next travel destination should be in order to feed the thirst for sky exploration, the following list will surely help you.
1. Oregon University Observatory, Sunriver, Oregon, USA
The US has no fewer than 60 Dark Sky Places, so you should bear in mind that there are plenty of great places you can visit here. One of them is the Oregon University Observatory. Just in case you didn’t bring your telescope, the site has 30 of them, so you will have plenty of opportunities to explore the sky.
2. Mauna Kea Observatory, Hawaii, USA
If you have always dreamed about traveling to an exotic location, but you just couldn’t find a complete list of reasons why you should book such a vacation, here’s the final nudge. For the astronomer geek in you, the Mauna Kea Observatory has plenty to offer.
Don’t worry about equipment; if you don’t want to use one of the many telescopes offered by the facility, get an affordable one, like Celestron Powerseeker 127eq from opticsandlab.com, and you will be set. At 13,796 feet above sea-level, this observatory brings you as close as you can be to the sky above.
3. Cerro Paranal Observatory, Atacama Desert, Chile
The particularly dry weather here makes the atmosphere clear, and that helps with the exploration of the night sky. You will hardly ever see a cloud in the Atacama Desert, so you will be able to enjoy perfect conditions for stargazing. The Cerro Paranal Observatory is also home to The Very Large Telescope, so you will be able to enjoy your favorite activity in ideal conditions.
Guided tours are regularly on the schedule, which means that you will also find it the ideal destination for learning new things about the cosmos as a whole.
4. South African Astronomical Observatory, Sutherland, South Africa
If you are an avid traveler, as well as an astronomy enthusiast, you will find this location ideal for completing your map of places where you should go for top-notch astral views. The place sits at more than 6,000 feet above the sea level, and it is well known for the clear sky conditions that happen year-round. The place offers some telescopes to be used by visitors, so you don’t necessarily have to bring your own.
5. Arcetri Astrophysical Observatory, Florence, Italy
Astronomy geeks shouldn’t miss this one, as it’s located in a part of Florence where Galileo Galilei lived toward the end of his life. Besides history, the area also offers one excellent observatory that will feed your thirst for exploring and understanding the night sky. However, you should be aware that the observatory operates on some strict rules. It’s open to tourists only on Saturday evenings, and groups cannot be larger than 35 people.
6. The Royal Observatory, Greenwich, London, UK
This list wouldn’t be complete without a destination of the caliber of The Royal Observatory. This is where the Prime Meridian is located, so that’s another reason to visit the place. Since it’s a spot loaded with history, there’s no surprise that there’s a museum on the grounds, too.
Here, you will be able to learn about historical navigation methods, among many other things. On the same spot, the Greenwich Castle used to sit, but, unfortunately, the old buildings haven’t survived, so only their memory remains.
7. National Observatory, Athens, Greece
We will remain in Europe, but it would be a shame not to mention some of them in the south part of this continent. One of them you can find in Greece. Greece is a country that is full of different historical monuments. For instance, many tourists decide on visiting Acropolis. However, many people do not know that there is also an Athens Observatory. Visiting both places would be the right match.
The observatory is not as new as you might think. It was built in 1842 and you can find it atop the Hill of the Nymphs. This center was the first research center in this country. Many years later, it became open for all the people that are astronomy geeks. Each tourist has the opportunity to research this place at night. Additionally, you will get a knowledgable guide that will make your research easier.
8. Jantar Mantar, Jaipur, India
Well, we will now move to the fourth continent that has a huge number of observatories. However, the one that we would like to highlight is located in India. The observatory is even older than the one in Greece. It was built in 1734 by the Maharajah Jai Singh II. You can find it in the Jaipur city that is a true delight for every astronomy lover.
Here you can find 17 astronomical instruments that are all great in a different way. Yet, one that will truly amaze you is the largest sundial in the world. Believe it or not, this instrument is entirely made of stone.
Many tourists will tell you this is the calmest part of this exciting city. You will get the chance to explore architectural wonders in peace.
9. Royal Observatory, Edinburgh, Scotland
The capital of Scotland is the place where you can find many entertaining things. However, the activities you can do there are usually not unique in any way. You can find the opportunity for those activities in many other places in the world. Yet, something that is unique about Edinburgh is an observatory. More precisely, this town possesses two of the – Royal Observatory and City Observatory. Many astronomy geeks will consider this town rich because it is hard to find those that possess more than one observatory.
Anyway, the first one that we mention was built in 1896. Believe it or not, this observatory is a model of Victorian-era astronomy. The traces of that era is not something you can find in observatories across the world.
Fortunately, the users have the chance to use the Victorian telescope dome facilities. They can also participate in weekly astronomy events. At that event, the tourists can see the starts with copper domes.
10. El Caracol, Chichen Itza, Mexico
Before we say “goodbye” to each other, let’s end the list with one more observatory in South America. More precisely, let’s move to Mexico and talk about one of the most popular observatories in the world.
Many people visit Yucatan every year. However, not visiting the Mayan city of Chichen Itza would be a huge mistake. There you can find a lot about that era of human history, Mayan tradition and culture, etc. Yet, astronomy geeks might don’t know that there is also an observatory they should visit. El Caracol is a mystic observation and you can hear different stories about this place from the locals.