Darkness can seem scary, but the bright twinkling of the stars and the mellow radiance of the moon can induce calmness and happiness. There are various stargazing sites all over the world, all bringing the best view of the stars. That list will be rather lengthy, but here are the top three choices for stargazing.
Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve, New Zealand
The Mackenzie Region in New Zealand has extraordinary sights from mountaintops, glaciers, grasslands, and lakes. But of their most sought after spectacle is its starry skies. The best site to do stargazing is the Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve located on the South Island. The reserve is composed of the Mt. Cook National Park with the Mackenzie Basin. In the 1980s, regulations for outdoor lighting were submitted and, in 2012 was imposed in the area. This move not only helped in conserving energy in the area but made it a popular stargazing site.
The wide, open spaces and the controlled outdoor light provides an unobstructed view of the night sky that seems to stretch forever. Just gather up your camping gear, select from the numerous camping sites they offer, and wait for the stars! You can also visit the Mount John Observatory located within the reserve or book some stargazing tours.
Rhön Biosphere Reserve, Germany
Also known as Sternenpark Rhön, this site is another recognized International Dark Sky Reserve. The Rhön Biosphere Reserve implies rules, and its community strives to protect the area’s dark night, making this site another excellent stargazing destination.
The reserve is a 1720 square kilometer of protected lands. It can reach elevations of 950 meters earning it the title “Land der offenen Fernen” or “land of endless horizons.” This site is also considered as one of the few remaining dark locations in Germany. Its accessibility makes it a destination for many astronomy fans and tourists.
Mauna Kea, Hawaii, USA
Hawaii is a scenic place famous for its beaches, luaus, food, water sports, culture, and a lot more. And on this island is a dormant volcano, the Mauna Kea, with its peak reaching 4,207.3 meters above sea level. This makes Mauna Kea or the “White Mountain” one of the best places to see the stars. A summit tour can be availed to visit the telescopes and also watch the sunset. You can also take advantage of the free stargazing programs set by local volunteer astronomers or visit the numerous observatories at the summit. Moreover, take note of the stargazing dates in Hawaii to make the best of your stargazing experience.
Stargazing is an activity that can truly be enjoyed by everyone. For beginners, all you need is a high location away from as much artificial light as possible, a set of binoculars, a star chart, and maybe some apps. Search for areas near you where you can watch the stars. But if you want to have a truly wonderful experience, you can start with the three sites mentioned above. These sites will definitely provide you with front-row seats and a glimpse of the wonders and mysteries of the heavens.