Whether you’re a keen sky observer, a budding astronomer or simply someone with a love of the night skies, these destinations around the planet are your prime gazing spots!
Natural Bridges National Monument – Utah, USA
Ideal for: Uninterrupted Starry Skies
In the heart of Utah, you’ll find some of the darkest skies in the world. The National Bridges Monument was the first ever certified Dark Sky Park and from here, you can see almost 15,000 stars in the night sky (as opposed to the usual 500).
Mont-Mégantic National Park – Quebec, Canada
Ideal for: Annual Perseid Meteor Shower
With an ASTROLab Observatory and some of the best night skies in the Northern Hemisphere, this National Park in Quebec is hard to pass up.
It’s also the site of the Popular Astronomy Festival and the Perseid Festival – during which you can view the stunning real-life meteor shower that takes place every August. The 2015 meteor shower is predicted to take place from 08/11-13.
NamibRand Nature Reserve – Namib Desert, Namibia
Ideal for: The Milky Way
Down in the Southern Hemisphere, the NamibRand in Southwest Namibia is also a certified Dark Sky Reserve. During the day, it’s characterised by gorgeous desert dunes.
Stargazing here must be organised in advance; the private area is known for animal conservation and research, and maintains itself by limiting tourism – and lights. It’s a stunning place to both explore by day and view the Milky Way by night.
Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort – Kakslauttanen, Finland
Ideal for: The Northern Lights
The sweeping green arcs of the northern lights are one of the must-see natural events if you’re a sky lover. At Kakslauttanen, this phenomenon is made all the more luxurious by staying in the town’s iconic glass igloos. Simply lay back and peer through your glass roof at the northern lights above.
White Sands National Monument – New Mexico, USA
Ideal for: Super Full Moon & Blood Moon
Super full moons are amazing occurrences that take place once every year during the perigee – the period when the moon is closest to the earth. Super full moons are spectacular to witness and while you can view the supermoons from anywhere (including cities), the White Sands National Monument offers full moon hikes and events (you should register if interested).
This year has the privilege of seeing three super full moons, but the best and closest will take place on 09/ 27-28 when the moon will also give way to a total lunar eclipse or Blood Moon.
Kerry International Dark-Sky Reserve – Kerry, Ireland
Ideal for: Star Clusters, Nebulas & the Andromeda Galaxy
Named as one of the best star-viewing spots on the planet, Kerry is one of only three Gold-rated Dark Sky reserves on Earth.
Here you can see an array of outer space wonders without even picking up binoculars or a telescope – including planets and our neighbouring galaxy, Andromeda. To make the most of it, hire an astronomy guide.
Overall, this entire region in Ireland is known for great night sky views, with other popular reserve areas being Cahersiveen, Valentia Island and Portmagee.