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5 destinations for star seekers

 

Have you ever seen the Milky Way from a campsite, a cup of tea in hand and the fire burning nicely nearby? No?! You should, it’s magical! There are billions of places out there that we know nothing about. How wonderful it would be to discover at least one more planet as magical as ours.

Ever since I saw the first falling star when I was 5, I have wanted to watch the stars for as long as I can, touch them, listen to them, anything really. I was hooked. Soon I discovered that I was allowed to stay up after dark to watch them for ‘educational reasons’ and I loved it even more. As a teenager it was a magical time to have a night swim in the sea, then try to warm up while dancing under the stars with friends. In my 20s and 30s I loved to look at the night sky wherever I travelled to. The further I was in the countryside, the more stars I could see and occasionally the Milky Way. Because of the light pollution, the Milky Way is not visible to a third of the world. And then, this summer I saw the planets of Jupiter, just through binoculars, from a mountain top in Austria.

Have you ever seen the Milky Way from a campsite, a cup of tea in hand and the fire burning nicely nearby? No?! You should, it’s magical! There are billions of places out there that we know nothing about. How wonderful it would be to discover at least one more planet as magical as ours.

I recently used a virtual reality camera to go into space. It was awesome! One really feels small and yet so powerful to put your finger on our planet as if it was the spherical model. No, you cannot spin it, but that would be a nice application.

It’s World Space week next week and we are looking at 5 destination you should visit if you are a space enthusiast like us:

1.       Kennedy Space Centre Florida, US promises to be the greatest space adventure on Earth. It is the only place in the world where you can see the real space shuttle Atlantis, touch a moon rock, meet a veteran NASA astronaut, tour a NASA spaceflight facility and get an up-close view of a real Saturn V moon rocket all in the same day! Does this make some of your space fantasies come true?

Image by airwaves1 on flickr

2.       Meteor Crater Arizona, US. On our road trip to the West Coast of the US, on our way to the Grand Canyon we were advised to stop at the Meteor Crater in Arizona. 50,000 years ago a giant meteorite weighing several hundred thousand tons hit the earth forming a crater diameter reaches 1.2 km with a depth of 173 m. 300-400 million tons of rock were displaced by the impact. The size cannot be truly comprehended until you stand on the rim or at the observation tower looking down into the crater. When you take time to understand the science and force behind this impact, it is truly staggering.

3.       Valley of the Moon, Chile. Although the scenery looks more like Mars than the Moon, the landscape and geological formations in the area are stunning. There will be some great photography opportunities so take a good camera, a picnic and wait for the sunset.

4.       ALMA is the most powerful working observatory in the world. Atacama Chile. It is an incredible project set in Atacama Desert, Chile, being built, financed and operated by 22 countries. The 66-telescope array is perched on a harsh plateau 3 miles above the world's driest desert. So why set an observatory base here? Because this region is perfect for astronomers and observing the universe.

ALMA Observatory Chile
ALMA Observatory Chile

Image by Rene Duran Photography on flickr

5.       The LAS Equinox Sky Camp is the largest star party in the UK. Hundreds of amateur astronomers meet at Kelling Heath, Norfolk, for a weekend of star gazing, talks, planetarium and astro screenings. There are even events and workshops for the Astrokyds. http://las-astro.org.uk/     Anybody looking for AstroCamping?

“‘When we look out into the space, we are looking into our own origins, because we are truly children of the stars.’ Said Brian Cox ”

Where in the world have you seen the best starry sky? What place made your heart twinkle with excitement for the world the lies beyond it?