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How to Plan an Astronomy-Focused Vacation

Updated on April 19, 2017

Astronomy enthusiasts never get tired of spending time with the sun, the moon and the stars. If they are planning a vacation, it would be great if it helps them spend more time watching night sky. They need to make sure that they are carrying a telescope and a star map.


Here are a few tips on how to plan an astronomy focused vacation:

Check Weather Forecasts

It is good idea to check weather forecasts before deciding on the place. It is frustrating to spend time inside a hotel room, when it would be raining or cloudy outside. A clear night sky is an astronomy enthusiast's dream.


Choose Locations Where There are Observatories

Vacations to places where there are observatories is bound to be exciting especially during major astronomical events like an eclipse, comets, meteor showers, etc.

Lowell Observatory

Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, AZ is definitely a great idea. The added advantage is that the Grand Canyon and the Meteor Crater are just one hour by road from here. Established in 1894, the Lowell Observatory was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1965.

Lowell Observatory

A markerLowell Observatory -
Coconino National Forest, 1400 W Mars Hill Rd, Flagstaff, AZ 86001, USA
get directions

Mauna Kea Observatory

Astronomy enthusiasts will definitely love the Mauna Kea Observatory in Hawaii. Mauna Kea (White Mountain) is a dormant volcano in the island of Hawaii. It is located about 300 km from Honolulu. This place hosts the world's largest astronomical observatory, with telescopes operated by astronomers from eleven countries. There are 13 working telescopes near the summit of Mauna Kea. The atmosphere above the mountains is dry. Sky is usually cloud free. One can be assured of excellent viewing conditions. Mauna Kea Observatory is one among few immensely popular getaways in the world. Check for Mauna Kea Observatory hours before visiting.

Consider Deserts

Astronomy enthusiasts will love night sky view offered by deserts of the Middle East. They can plan a vacation to any of the desert resorts in the region like Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort and Spa in the UAE (United Arab Emirates). Camping in desert sands, watching shisha clouds rising in to the night sky filled with stars, is an experience in itself.

Night Sky


Mantiqueira Mountains

Mantiqueira Mountains in South eastern Brazil is an excellent place for astronomy enthusiasts. But they should visit during winter. Sky will be clear and one can be assured of spectacular viewing conditions. There are hotels like the Do Ype Hotel.

A markerMantiqueira Mountains -
Mantiqueira Mountains, Baependi - State of Minas Gerais, Brazil
get directions

Grand Canyon National Park

Many star parties are organized in the Grand Canyon National Park. Astronomy enthusiasts will definitely love the night skies of Arizona. But they have to ensure that they reserve a room or campsite in advance.

A markerGrand Canyon National Park -
Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona, USA
get directions

Have you ever had an astronomy-focused vacation?

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How About the Hemispheres?

Locations near the hemispheres offer amazing views.

It is a good idea to take the children along as it is a great opportunity to develop their interest in astronomy. They can also have fun in the process.

Milky Way Viewed from the Atacama Desert in Chile

Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons | Source

Top 5 Large Telescopes

Gran Telescopio Canarias
10.4 m
Roque de los Muchachos Obs, Spain
Hobby-Eberly Telescope
10 m
McDonald Observatory, Texas, USA
Keck 1
10 m
Mauna Kea Observatories, Hawaii, USA
Keck 2
10 m
Mauna Kea Observatories, Hawaii, USA
Southern African Large Telescope
9.2 m
South African Astronomical Obs., Northern Cape, South Africa

Astronomy compels the soul to look upwards and leads us from this world to another.

— Plato


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