If you’re thinking of a vacation, why settle for the usual tourist attractions when you can make the stars your destination?
Stargazing tours combine scenic vistas and all the amenities with state of the art astronomy to introduce the wonders of the night sky to skywatchers of all ages.
Whether you’re a casual observer or a dedicated star watcher, a stargazing tour has something for you.
You can track constellations with a laser pointer, learn to read a star map, or experiment with astrophotography.
You might see stars shining in daylight, count the moons of Saturn, or see spots on the face of the Sun. Sophisticated imaging technology lets you peer deep into space or count craters on the Moon.
If you’d like to stick close to home, check with local astronomy clubs and organizations.
These groups often organize dark sky viewing trips to local areas away from city lights.
Colleges and universities with astronomy programs often open their observatories for public viewing nights, lectures, and demonstrations as well.
In this kind of low-cost stargazing “staycation,” you’ll learn about night sky features and get close-up views of planets, moons, and cosmic visitors, such as asteroids and comets.
These short stargazing trips usually offer an introduction to astronomy basics, star maps, and identifying constellations.
On a larger scale, you can also book a stargazing tour to just about anywhere in the world, including some leading research facilities.
Some tours offer general night sky viewing with experienced guides in scenic spots like Sedona, Arizona.
Others are organized around a major celestial event, such as a solar eclipse or comet pass viewable only from a certain area of the world. Still others combine traditional sightseeing with visits to an observatory or viewing station, such as Hawaii’s Mauna Kea Observatory, where visitors can use sophisticated telescopes and other kinds of imaging equipment.
You can arrange a stargazing tour like any other vacation. If you’re booking a tour to view a rare event, it’s essential to schedule well in advance.
Check for other restrictions too. Not every tour is family friendly, and some facilities require extensive walking or climbing.
Whether you stick close to home or travel around the globe, a stargazing tour puts the universe at your fingertips.