Many of the stars we see no longer exist.
When we look at the sky, we're seeing light that has reached us from millions of miles away, light stemming from stars that have likely imploded or winked out long before we ever wished upon them. Knowing this adds another dimension to the already mind-bending act of staring too long at the night sky. When we look at the stars, we see living proof of just how small we are against the infinite cosmos—and we're also seeing a time machine of the universe as it was long ago.
Unfortunately, light pollution has made it harder to view stars from the earth. Fortunately, there are now designated "Dark Sky Reserves" across the globe, places where artificial light is limited or nearly nonexistent.
Before you visit any of these places, be sure to schedule your trip so that it coincides with a new moon, so you can see the stars in all their untainted luminosity.
1. The Atacama Desert, Chile
Chile's arid Atacama Desert is one of the most famous stargazing locations in the world. Because of the desert's dry atmosphere, the location receives up to 200 clear nights per year, and its empty stretches of sand provide the ideal locations for uninterrupted viewings of the cosmos.