Thanks to light pollution that’s evident in most residential areas, it has become nearly impossible to get a good view of the night sky. Man-made lights have made dark skies a thing of the past. Stars and other celestial features can only be observed in a dark sky. This is why finding spots with completely dark skies has become vital to enthusiastic stargazers and those interested in astronomy.
Luckily, there are still plenty of places that experience totally dark skies that are clear enough to display the wonders of the heavens. The list below will look at some of the places that offer the best views of the night sky.
1. Tuscany, Italy
Let’s start with Tuscany, which features prominently in the history of astronomical advancements in the world. Back in the 17th century, this is where famous astronomer Galileo Galilei developed his first telescope and conducted studies of the skies. To date, it remains a site for great views of the night sky and is a favorite among stargazers. Many astronomers also find the Tuscany hills very useful as there are observatories and equipment there. Exquisite sights to see in the Tuscany night sky include the Milky Way, the moon’s craters, and Jupiter’s moons.
2. Atacama Desert, Chile
The extremely dry conditions of the Atacama desert in Chile, coupled with its nearly non-existent cloud cover and isolation from cities and towns which keeps any kind of light pollution at bay, add up to make it a great place to see the night sky. It presents a clear and dark night sky that gives clarity that is rarely found anywhere else. The desert itself is a plateau with an elevation of 16,400 ft above sea level. This brings about the best vantage point of the night sky found in the southern hemisphere. There’s a high tech observatory situated here for space study, allowing scientists to make detailed observations of the cosmos. The fact that scientists find it very useful is an indication that it’s an ideal place to see an extraordinary night sky.
3. Mauna Kea, Hawaii
Hawaii’s many volcanoes offer great vantage points of the night sky. Mauna Kea is the best of them as is evident by the many astronomical observation sites set up on its peaks. Visitors here even enjoy the privilege of being provided with telescopes to get a better, closer look at the night sky. Many discoveries in astronomy have been made from observations made on Mauna Kea, so there’s definitely a lot to see here.
4. Death Valley, California
Death Valley National Park in California is one of the best and most popular night sky viewing places found in the US. Sights to see here include meteor showers, the expansive Milky Way, and even the rare lunar eclipse. It’s a popular destination for night-sky tourists, having been designated as the largest dark sky reserve in the United States by the International Dark Sky Association. The Las Vegas Astronomical Society also throws a Star Party at the site yearly, attracting a lot of night sky enthusiasts.