Top 5 Travel Destinations for Astronomy Geeks
Guest post by Juliet Woodward
Most people tend to choose a coastline or party hub for an enjoyable vacation, but if you’re someone who is tired of the same old ways of travelling and want to explore something new and exciting, spots for stargazing can be a great choice.
If you’re an astronomy geek like me, get your bags packed for one of these five stargazing destinations!
Mauna Kea – Hawaii
Mauna Kea is about 14,000 feet above the sea-level, located in one of the most beautiful islands in the world: Hawaii. The Mauna Kea Observatories provide ideal conditions for stargazing for tourists. These independent research facilities offer stargazing opportunities along with tours, and some even provide visitors with the telescopes. Just be sure to check the weather conditions before you plan to visit one of the observatories.
Royal Observatory – London
If you are into both astronomy and rich history, the Royal Observatory, Greenwich in London is a must-visit spot for you. It’s built on the same ground where ancient royal buildings were located during the era of King William I, plus it’s the home of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) and the world’s Prime Meridian. The observatory is divided into a museum and a planetarium. What makes it even more special is that the Royal Observatory is the only planetarium in the city of London. So, if you are heading to London by any chance, add this place in your bucket list!
Atacama Desert – Chile
Chile’s Atacama Desert offers near-perfect conditions for stargazing, including dry air, clear skies, very little pollution, and a high altitude. If you want to experience the best free-of-charge stargazing, head to the mountains of Cerro Paranal to the Paranal Observatory. This observatory offers a large telescope and free guided tours every Saturday. Just make sure you make a reservation to secure your space!
Teide National Park – Spain
With beautiful landscapes and crystal-clear night skies, Teide National Park on the island of Tenerife is a dream location for camping and stargazing with your partner. The park hosts a festival every September called Starmus, which attracts astronomy geeks and art lovers from all over the world. Teide National Park also has an observatory worth visiting. Reserve a space to visit yourself or book a guided day tour with one of the local tour companies.
Hayden Planetarium – New York
It’s no secret that the skies of New York aren’t always clear and weather conditions are far from ideal, but there are rare moments when a visit to the Hayden Planetarium are in order. Not only does Hayden Planetarium offer stargazing opportunities, but it’s also the place to snag tickets for a space show. Admission tickets generally cost around $20, providing you with access to the Natural History Museum, as well. That’s quite the bargain!