Explore Starry Nights
Whether you're a casual stargazer or an amateur astronomer, here are some of the best places to explore the cosmos.
Whether you’re a casual stargazer or an amateur astronomer, it can be difficult to see our universe from home. The night sky can be covered in a haze that even an expensive telescope won’t cut through. But there are places you can go around the world to admire the wonders of space.
If you’re planning a vacation around astronomy, we highly recommend visiting the Smithsonian’s list of the best places to see stars. They highlight all of the best spots across the world. Fodor’s Travel also has a top 10 list focused on the U.S. Check out some of our favorites from both lists:
Mauna Kea Observatory; Hawaii
The observatories at Mauna Kea sit 13,796 feet above sea-level on Hawaii’s biggest island. Tourists can visit the top, but officials suggest stopping at the visitor’s center first to check the weather conditions and get acclimated to the elevation.
Kitt Peak National Observatory; Arizona
The southwest is a great place for anyone looking to stargaze. Kitt Peak (southwest of Tucson) is home to the world’s largest collection of optical telescopes. Tourists can enjoy guided tours daily as well as nightly stargazing activities including an overnight observing program.
Royal Observatory; Greenwich-London, U.K.
The Royal Observatory Greenwich played a major role in the history of astronomy and navigation. It will take you to the historic prime meridian where you can be at the center of time and explore where Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) is calculated. Visitors can also see a range of artifacts used by Royal astronomers including telescopes and timepieces.
Arcetri Astrophysical Observatory; Florence, Italy
Located in the hills where Galileo spent most of his later years in life, the Arcetri Astrophysical Observatory offers the opportunity to step back in time to an historic period in astronomy. This may be the ideal place for amateur astronomers as workshops and courses are available a few times per year.
There are so many more places to witness the beauty of our skies. Have you been to a great observatory? Share with us on our Facebook page!