The din of modern life often makes people take our existence for granted. We exist on a revolving blue orb in an inky black, ever-expanding universe with no sign of life even within millions of lightyears. Our existence should pre-suppose the impossibility of anything negative. Yet somehow, while we are caught in reality, we forget about the bigger picture. Artist Van Gogh once said, “For my part, I know nothing with any certainty, but the sight of the stars makes me dream.” It is this thought that should remind us of who we are and how marvellous the night skies are. Here, we’ll tell you where you should go to remind yourself of that. By Quoyina Ghosh
1) Namib Desert, Namibia
A perfectly flat haven granting us a 360-degree view of the skies above, this ancient desert is located far from light pollution and human habitation. This location presents us with one of the darkest skies in the world, revealing the gorgeous skies that the city lights hide from us. With resident astronomers and telescopes to help you discern stars clusters such as the Jewel Box, constellations and much more, these enchanting skies of Namib are sure to leave you in awe!
2) Hawaii, United States of America
About 13,800 feet above sea level exists Mauna Kea, a dormant volcano. It is considered famous as a place where a world of space discoveries have been made. As many as 13 observatories are present here to observe the wonders of the dark skies. With various stargazing programmes and tours to avail, Hawaii is a must-visit for those who wish to know everything about the world above.
3) Death Valley, United States of America
Considered one of the hottest places on the planet, the Death Valley is also home to the Gold Tier National Park, which is renowned for star-gazing. Known for helping map a variety of constellations and meteor showers in the sky above, this valley is astronomically renowned. In fact, it is also known for hosting a myriad of star parties to attract scientists and enthusiasts to stargaze and even make a discovery or two!
4) La Palma, Canary Islands
In 2002, this island was crowned as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and rightly so! Don’t be fooled by the initial cloudy atmosphere that greets you as you start to make your way uphill. There comes a point when you pop straight out into the sunlight. Here, amid the various observatories with their massive telescopes, you too can set one up and scour the brilliance of the bejewelled night skies.
5) Tuscany, Italy
Back in the 17th century, astronomer Galileo Galilei developed his telescope in Tuscany. This is the place where it all began. If you want to gaze at the beautiful sights above with the great fathers of the past, Tuscany is the place for you. With wonders such as moon craters, meteor showers, Jupiter’s satellites, and etcetera to awe at, Tuscany is a must-visit for any astronomy enthusiast.