The Best Places to Stargaze in the World: A Tour in Pictures

Get a little starry-eyed.

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.

2. Tenerife, Canary Islands

From off the coast of Spain, the island of Tenerife offers a multitude of peaks and beaches that provide unbroken views of the galaxy in all its mind-bending glory. From atop the volcanic rocks of Mount Teide National Park, you can see the rings of Saturn, the moon's craters, and countless nebulae. Plus, the island is privy to monthly meteor showers, so if you time it right, you have a good shot at making a wish on one of those luminous streaks of burning rock.

Atacama Desert


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